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Gathering boundaries makes it a ‘great time to build a pipeline’, Alberta minister

Alberta ‘s energy minister claims it’s a perfect idea to construct a pipeline as there are restrictions to public safety demonstrations against it.

Sonya Savage posted Friday on a podcast produced by the Oilwell Exploration Contractors Canadian Group. She was questioned about the success of the Trans Mountain Expansion project on its path between Edmonton and Vancouver, under planning.

“Now is a great time to be building a pipeline because you can’t have protests of more than 15 people,” Savage said. “Let’s get it built.”

Unasked, Savage goes on to say the global uncertainty generated by the creation of the pandemic favors pipeline.

“People are not going to have tolerance and patience for protests that get in the way of people working,” she said on the podcast, which was posted on the association’s website.

“People need jobs and those types of ideological protests that get in the way are not going to be tolerated by ordinary Canadians.”

In an note, Savage’s spokesperson confirmed she was on the show.

“We respect the right to lawful protests,” said Kavi Bal.

“I would note that the limitations to public gatherings…have benefited no one — including project proponents and any opposition groups.”

Alberta and B.C. Outdoor events have increased their quotas to 50 participants.

Opposition New Democrat energy analyst Irfan Sabir found Savage ‘s remarks to the government more of the same.

“These comments do not come as a shock,” he said.

“The UCP have already used the pandemic as an excuse to suspend environmental monitoring. When combined with the minister’s latest comments, this will harm the reputation of Alberta’s energy industry and inhibit our ability to attract investment and get our product to market.”

United Conservative government of Jason Kenney had a mixed record on the demonstrators.

In the case of a man recently detained at the legislature when he was demonstrating against directives to suspend public safety orders, the Premier supported the freedom to demonstrate. At the time, Kenney said he would modify such orders to ensure that they did not interfere with that right, as long as the guidelines were respected.

There is little room for civil disobedience in policy.

In February, it implemented laws introducing heavy penalties and even jail sentences on demonstrators that destroy or otherwise intervene with the activity of a broad variety of electricity facilities — while these actions are now unlawful.

The legislation has passed and is pending royal assent to function properly.

In January, a parallel law containing expanded trespassing penalties for animal rights demonstrators at farm facilities came into effect.

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