Scheduled one day before the critical May 31 deadline on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, the head of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce said it is no surprise tickets for an upcoming speech from Canada’s finance minister sold out fast.
“The fact that it came together so quickly is a strong indication of the voice and the impact, of particularly, the Trans Mountain project would have on the Canadian economy,” president and CEO Sandip Lalli said. “It was definitely them reaching out to us.”
After the Chamber got the offer Thursday, tickets went on sale Friday morning and sold out in a matter of hours, followed by a waitlist.
Morneau’s Wednesday event is titled: Securing Canada’s economic future.
“It is a Canadian conversation but choosing Calgary is a strong indication of support for the Calgary business community,” she said. “The business community wants to hear from the minister, specifically around the things that he’s mentioned he’s going to talk about, investor confidence and business competitiveness.
“But it would be remiss if we didn’t mention the critical infrastructure piece around Trans Mountain, what we’re looking for is some meaningful, actionable contribution to that decision.”
Kinder Morgan has imposed a May 31 deadline to announce whether or not it will move on with the expansion, depending on if it can be assured that the British Columbia government’s court actions won’t ultimately thwart it.
Morneau announced last week that the Liberals were willing to cover cost overruns and said if Kinder Morgan were to walk away, there are other investors willing to take its place.
However, none have come forward publicly with interest.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has also expressed taking a financial stake in the project.
Earlier this week, she skipped the western premiers’ meeting to focus on ongoing talks with Kinder Morgan and the federal government.
At the meeting with Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman in Notley’s place, Alberta declined to sign the conference’s closing communique on future work on projects like Pharmacare.
“I understand that some of our colleagues might not feel as passionately about the jobs and the opportunities,” Hoffman said. “I don’t disagree with the other initiatives that were discussed in the communique, but Pharmacare doesn’t grow on trees, we need those jobs to generate income tax, to have a strong national economy, to be able to fund things.”
On Tuesday, B.C. filed a statement of claim in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench, challenging Alberta’s Bill 12, which would authorize the restriction of oil shipments to B.C.
There’s also a court challenge in B.C. going on, and B.C. Premier John Horgan was asked if these specific challenges will be the final ones.
“We are in court, and we are awaiting the outcome of those proceedings, and then we’ll make other decisions at that time,” he said.
As for Wednesday, Lalli said it is clear observers will want to see some sort of leadership.
“That pushes this through and crosses the line in a meaningful way, that improves and impacts the Canadian economy,” she said.