Natural resources minister says slumping oil prices won’t deter pipeline plans

The sinking price of oil hasn't deterred the Liberal government from the ever-elusive goal of figuring out how to get Canadian energy to tidewater, says Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

SAINT ANDREWS, N.B. — The sinking price of oil hasn’t deterred the Liberal government from the ever-elusive goal of figuring out how to get Canadian energy to tidewater, says Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

Battered by the plunging price of crude, the market is now bracing for what experts predict will be a flood of Iranian oil after the United States and the European Union lifted economic sanctions against Iran.

Paired with the steady decline in the value of the Canadian dollar, the drop in commodity values has delivered a financial one-two punch to resource-rich provinces like Alberta.

“We’re looking for a sustainable way of getting our resources to tidewater. That’s been our position all along,” Carr said before a cabinet meeting Monday in the seaside tourist community of St. Andrews, N.B.

“We don’t control the price of oil. It’s an international situation. Commodity prices are at a low. It’s a reality that we’re having to deal with.”

Canadians must be able to have confidence in whatever review process is ultimately approved, said Carr, who acknowledged the effect of the commodity crisis on families, investors and businesses.

It’s one Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government intends to address in its first budget, expected in March.

“It’s important for us to continue to pay attention to the economy and we’re paying close attention, and with that we’ll be formulating our budget plans with that in mind,” Morneau said.

The Liberals vowed during the election campaign not to run deficits of greater than $10 billion this year and next, largely on the back of billions in new infrastructure spending designed to act as economic stimulus.

Rona Ambrose, the interim Conservative leader, urged the government to come up with policies to deal with lower energy prices and their economic fallout.

“The government has been in office long enough to have a clear plan to deal with the current economic situation, but the sense of urgency from the Trudeau Liberals has been completely absent,” Ambrose said in a statement.

The government is already trying to fast-track spending on approved projects waiting in the queue for federal dollars, and has heard concerns from provinces and local governments about capacity issues that may require the federal government to pick up more of the construction tab.

Morneau said the government’s challenge now is to fund projects that are shovel-ready and meet the government’s long-term economic goals.

“If we find projects that are responsible, that can help us with long-term productivity, that are also ready now, we’d like to move forward.”

Morneau is expected to give his cabinet colleagues an update on what he’s been hearing in budget consultations, what finance officials have forecasted for 2016 and what it could all mean for the federal budget.

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said Sunday he was going to outline the framework for getting extra spending out the door quickly on public transit, “green” projects like water and wastewater facilities, and social infrastructure like daycares and affordable housing.

The presentations are part of a cabinet retreat in New Brunswick to help the Liberals set the overarching goals for 2016 and lay the strategy the government will use to deal with issues facing the country.

Cabinet ministers will have a full day of meetings today before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a handful of ministers travel overseas to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.

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

Just Posted

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

GrammaLink-Africa members are participating in the Stride to Turn the Tide campaign until June 30. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer group walking to raise money for African grandmothers

A group of central Albertans will be walking every day until the… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Opinion
Opinion: Canada’s self-esteem needs Trump

Well, it was fun while it lasted. For four years, with Donald… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Shenanigans on the links

It must be something about my Scottish heritage but I seem to… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens' Tyler Toffoli celebrates his goal past Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Corey Conners, of Canada, hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Conners notched six birdies on his back nine to take the lead after his second round of the RBC Heritage on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada serves to Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in round 1 of the Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday August 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Dalton Kellett pulls out of the pits during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Dalton Kellett is pleased his second career season in IndyCar will be different than his first, which started on an elaborate iRacing rig in his home office in Indianapolis because of COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Darron Cummings
Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Most Read