Ottawa must 'step up' on pipeline approvals, senators told at Calgary hearing
Committee travelling across Canada to look at best way to get crude oil moving across country
Alberta's opposition Wildrose Party is pressing its pro-pipeline message with federal politicians examining the best way to get Canada's oil to markets.
The Senate's transport and communications committee is crisscrossing the country "with the goal of proposing a responsible strategy to facilitate the transport of crude oil within Canada," the Senate's website says.
At a stop in Calgary this week, Wildrose MLA Prasad Panda told the committee that pipelines don't just benefit Alberta's energy sector.
"Pipelines are not only good for Alberta's economy but the economy of Canada," he said.
"A strong Alberta is a strong Canada."
"We have to take politics out of it and let the National Energy Board review the process based on the science on the facts and based on the input of the stakeholders and approve the projects in a timely fashion," Panda added.
He called the NEB's adjudication of pipeline applications sound.
Conservative Nova Scotia Senator Michael MacDonald, who is the deputy chair of the committee, says the Trudeau government needs do more to get pipelines built.
"We need the federal government to step up its constitutional authority in this country and provide leadership on this issue," he said.
"In the end, regardless what the National Energy Board proposes or supports, the hammer on this is with the federal government. The constitution is very clear on this," said MacDonald.
National Energy Board hearings into TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline came to a halt suddenly last month when board members reviewing the project resigned.
It was revealed that two of the panel members had met last year with former Quebec premier Jean Charest. He was a consultant for TransCanada at the time.
The Senate committee is expected to come up with a strategy to get crude to eastern refineries, along with ports on both coasts.
It's not clear when the NEB will resume Energy East hearings.
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