Robert Kitchen, Vicky O’Dell, Steven Bebbington, Bob Deptuck

Kitchen speaks up for Energy East in House of Commons

February 16, 2016 8:25 am
Kevin Weedmark

Souris-Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen has spoken up for Energy East in the House of Commons.

The MP asked a question of the government during debate on a Conservative motion to show support for Energy East.

The Conservative motion failed, as all Liberal and NDP members voted against it.

“Souris-Moose Mountain is a riding in Saskatchewan where the pipeline will go. The pipeline is coming through a community called Moosomin,” Kitchen told the House of Commons. “Moosomin is supposed to get a receipt and delivery terminal, otherwise known as a tank farm, which will accommodate 1.05 million barrels of oil. In the two-year process of building this tank farm, there are projected to be 150 jobs, which will come from local welders, builders, and construction. I would ask the member if he could comment on where he sees other losses in the industry as this progresses?”

The motion was defeated.

“The Conservative Party put forward a motion to support Energy East and encourage the country to support it, to stand up for this project” Kitchen said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s one we believe is right for the industry, and it’s right for Canada, because it creates jobs all across the country, and it’s the safest way to move the product. It’s 99.9 per cent safe. We were just trying to say let’s support this and get behind it.”

“The Conservative caucus stood behind it 100 per cent,” Kitchen said. “Unfortunately the Liberals and the NDP voted against it. The 10 Conservative members for Saskatchewan all voted in favor, and three of the four other members did not. One unfortunately wasn’t there because of the incident in La Loche.”

He said the motion brought the issue to the fore. “It was great to see. We spent all day debating and presented a number of good arguments on why we believe it’s the right way to go. We were able to ask questions in support of that. I had the chance to ask a question, asking what do we say to the people of Moosomin when we’re dealing with an issue where we’re dealing with the tank farm that we would have here.”

Kitchen says it’s hard to pin down the government’s position on Energy East.

“It’s hard to read how the government is seeing it,” he said. “They’re not saying anything. They’re just saying we need a further review of the project and they’ve created a process to do that. That review is going to delay things, obviously, and the proponents are going to have to deal with that. And how long it delays it we don’t know.”

He said Energy East is a big issue for him personally and for the Conservative caucus.

“We will keep pushing the issue because it’s important for the oil and gas industry. It’s important because we need to move the product. Still in the east, 80 per cent of their oil is coming from foreign suppliers. Why we’re not using our own oil makes no sense to me. It creates jobs here by moving our oil east, it creates jobs in the east, it means that the oil is being bought from Canadian suppliers, not foreign suppliers.

“We talk about these countries that violate human rights, and yet we’ll buy their oil. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

He said Energy East and the Moosomin tank farm that would be part of it is important for Saskatchewan and especially southeast Saskatchewan.

“You look at the riding we’re in, we have lots of resources, but we don’t have the ports,” he said. “We can’t ship it overseas. It’s not like we can just airlift it out of here. We need to move it by road, or by rail to those ports, or we move it by pipeline. Pipeline is the safest way to move oil, and that frees up more room on the rails for our farmers to move their grain and to move the product in our potash mines.”