​Scheer promises new coast to coast energy corridor to get pipelines built

Image: Flickr/Andrew Scheer

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer pledged Thursday to pursue a coast-to-coast energy corridor, achieve Canadian oil independence by 2030 and adjust mortgage-lending rules with the aim of making home-buying more affordable.

With the federal election less than six months away, Scheer used a speech Thursday in Toronto to share new elements of his economic pitch to voters.

The opposition leader told a lunch-time business crowd that a Scheer government would work to establish a dedicated route where it would be easier to approve major new energy projects _ from pipelines to power lines.

“With a single corridor, we could minimize environmental impacts, lower the costs of environmental assessments, increase certainty for investors, and, most importantly, get these critical projects built,” Scheer said to the Economic Club of Canada.

Planning and consulting for the right-of-way would be done up front, sparing industry of the complicated process of submitting proposals for new projects, he said. And, he added, the corridor would be designed in full consultation with provinces and Indigenous communities.

Scheer's address was the second in a series of five speeches he is using to introduce major Conservative policies ahead of the October election. In a foreign policy speech last week, he promised to move the Canadian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Future speeches are scheduled to discuss immigration, intergovernmental relations in Canada, and the environment and climate change.

On crude oil, Scheer promised Thursday to work towards a Canada that no longer needs foreign oil — and is instead “fuelled exclusively by Canadians by 2030.”

Oil imports from countries like Iran, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia have supported regimes that “abuse human rights and take virtually no steps to protect the environment,” he said.

“The fact is Canada has more than enough oil — not only to displace imports from the aforementioned rogue states — but to put an end to all foreign oil imports once and for all,” he said.

© 2019 The Canadian Press