There was hope for Alberta with the proposed Alberta to Alaska (A2A) rail project but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has hinted he will use the no more pipelines Bill C69 to stop the project dead in its tracks.
The $22 billion project would see a 2,570 kilometre rail line running from Anchorage, Alaska, though the Yukon and Northwest Territories and into northern Alberta. But Trudeau said the plan must undergo a rigorous environmental assessment under Bill C-69.
“Whether there is a potential for a project, before the proponent goes too far down the round and invests too much money in it, in something that is unlikely to pass,” said Trudeau.
Last month U.S. President Donald Trump said he supported the project.
“Based on the strong recommendation of @SenDanSullivan and @repdonyoung of the Great State of Alaska, it is my honor to inform you that I will be issuing a Presidential Permit for the A2A Cross-Border Rail between Alaska & Canada. Congratulations to the people of Alaska & Canada!” said Trump in a tweet on Sept. 26.
The Alaska – Alberta Railway Development Corporation (A2A Rail) still needs to go through a U.S. review process to get necessary licenses and permits for interstate railroad commerce for the U.S. portion. A2A would have to go through an environmental impact assessment in Canada before getting federal and provincial approval.
The project would generate thousands of jobs for Canadians if it were built, A2A said in a July media release.
“This is a world-class infrastructure project that will generate more than 18,000 jobs for Canadian workers at a time when they are most needed, provide a new, more efficient route for trans-Pacific shipping and thereby link Alberta to world markets,” said A2A Rail Founder Sean McCoshen.
A2A commissioned an engineering firm to survey land in Alberta for the project and engage in early field activities such as land clearing, fencing and access road preparation.
In 2015, the Alberta government paid for a feasibility study of a rail line running between Alberta and Alaska. The study concluded that building a railway would be challenging but would provide an alternative to pipeline transportation for oil.
The A2A line would transport oil, grain, ore, and other containerized goods.
The Alberta government is in favour of an Alaska-to-Alberta rail line to get goods to Asian markets.
“The Government of Alberta is glad to see to see the approval of the A2A rail project in the United States,” said Alberta Government spokesperson Christine Myatt.
“We support the development of trade corridors that can unlock new markets for many of Alberta’s products including oil & gas, new mineral production and agriculture.”
Trudeau blocking the A2A project has given the Wexit Movement more ammunition on why Alberta should split from Canada.
The Wexit Movement says the west needs more pipelines and the A2A holds tremendous potential for economic diversity and development within the West.By blocking future pipeline development, Trudeau is strangling the West’s economy and he knows it. – Wexit Click To Tweet
“By blocking future pipeline development, Trudeau is strangling the West’s economy and he knows it. What concern is a destitute West to him? He is kept in power by voters in the East anyway, and they have no more love for the West than he does.
“Essentially Trudeau is telling investors to stay away. Ottawa will not let this line through.”
-Alberta Press staff