A top Canadian official has said this is a “great time” to build a pipeline because coronavirus-related restrictions ban large public protests.
Alberta’s Energy Minister Sonya Savage said people needed jobs and “ideological protests” would not be “tolerated” by ordinary Canadians.
She was referring to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, opposed by indigenous groups and environmentalists.
It runs from Edmonton in Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia.
Construction started in December and the project, an expansion of a 67-year-old pipeline, is expected to triple the current capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 per day.
The pipeline has become a hot-button political issue for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has said the project is in the national economic interest. It has faced numerous legal and regulatory hurdles.
“Now is a great time to be building a pipeline because you can’t have protests of more than 15 people,” Ms Savage said on a podcast of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, when asked about the project. “Let’s get it built.”
“People are not going to have tolerance and patience for protests that get in the way of people working,” she said. “People need jobs, and those types of ideological protests that get in the way