Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is shown in Calgary, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

VIDEO: Kenney wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Alberta’s premier says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to move swiftly to approve the Teck Frontier oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray.

Jason Kenney says there is no reason to delay the go-ahead for the $20.6-billion project near Wood Buffalo National Park in northeastern Alberta.

A federal-provincial review last summer determined Frontier would be in the public interest, even though it would be likely to harm the environment and the land, resources and culture of Indigenous people.

“Their current deadline is the end of February for a decision … and I’ve been very clear to the prime minister … if they say no to this project, then they are signalling his earlier statement that he wants to phase out the oilsands,” Kenney said Monday.

Trudeau commented at a town hall meeting in January 2017 that his government was attempting to balance economic and environmental concerns.

“We can’t shut down the oilsands tomorrow. We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels, but it’s going to take time, and, in the meantime, we have to manage that transition,” Trudeau said at the time.

The Frontier mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta., would produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day and about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, for more than 40 years.

The federal government must make a decision by the end of February under the Environmental Assessment Act.

Kenney said it’s time that the federal Liberals start listening to the majority of First Nations leaders who support projects such as Teck, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northeastern B.C.

“I implore the federal government. If reconciliation means something, surely it means saying ‘yes’ to economic development for First Nations people.”

Kenney was speaking at an announcement of the new board of directors for the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corp. The Crown corporation plans to allocate up to $1 billion in support, such as loan guarantees, to qualified First Nations seeking an equity position in major resource projects.

The communities need to come up with $20 million for investment, but can receive support of up to $250 million.

Kenney said the corporation could provide financial support to a group seeking to buy a stake in the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain project.

“We continue to discuss this with the federal government,” he said. “The prime minister has expressed an interest in selling a stake to First Nations. If that future potential First Nations consortium comes forward to the (Alberta corporation) with an application, I’m sure it will be given serious consideration.”

READ MORE: B.C. and Alberta Indigenous leaders protest major Teck oilsands project

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

oil & gas

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police make arrest in suspected arson in downtown Penticton

‘Numerous tips’ came in after RCMP released survelliance photos

RCMP investigating man reportedly hiking nude on Summerland’s Full Frontal trail

Potential charges against the man could include indecent exposure.

Morning Start: One Year on Uranus Is 84 Years on Earth

Your morning start for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020

‘Perfect storm’ causes influx of black widows in the Okanagan

The region’s only venomous spider has come out in full force this year

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

Grand jury indicts police officer in Breonna Taylor death

Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment

Grizzly bear spotted in North Okanagan

Two residents warn of sightings in the area

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Kelowna resident searching for ferret that went missing from beach

Dexter the Ferret is smaller than average and likes to chase squirrels

Refresh of Liberal government’s agenda comes amid new looming COVID-19 crisis

Lockdowns saw fed spending soar to historic levels in effort to offset pandemic’s blow to Canadians’ livelihoods

Attorney General defends Kelowna Mountie involved in rough arrest

Tyler Russell filed a lawsuit against Const. Siggy Pietrzak in June of this year

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Most Read