Canada PM Trudeau's efforts on oilsands, pipelines fail to initially convince Fort McMurray's residents
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Ottawa/Fort McMurray (Alb), Apr 7 (Canadian-Media): Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to Fort McMurray oilsands in northern Alberta city, was far from impressive to the residents, media reports said.
Trudeau, guided by Suncor CEO Steve Williams, in his tour met with workers and informed them about the Liberal government's plans to impose a national carbon tax.
He also said that his government policies were slowing down investment in the oil and gas industry while capital was fleeing to the United States.
"You know what gives Canada a competitive disadvantage not being able to get our oil resources to new markets?" Trudeau said. "For 10 years Stephen Harper talked the oilsands up and weren't able to get [pipelines] done."
Following the tour, Williams without hesitation said he believed the Trans Mountain pipeline will get built.
"We actually approved a pipeline that for the very first time is going to get our oil to new markets," Trudeau told reporters after his tour of Suncor's new Fort Hills oilsands site, one of the largest oilsands projects in the region.
"Moving our resources to market is not just a priority for Albertans, but, for Canadians, and we are going to do that in a responsible way," and added there will always be protesters in politics,
Through the day, Trudeau met with other energy sector leaders, Wood Buffalo's mayor and the region's Métis and First Nations leaders.
Quintal said all the parties recognize the importance of working together.
"In the circumstance of economics, there's a really big pie," said Ron Quintal, president of the Fort McKay Métis. "And we don't want to fight over that pie."
Allan Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation & Quintal, said that for the first time Indigenous groups from the region are meeting a Canadian prime minister.
After the meeting with Trudeau, Adam announced that the region's First Nations had agreed to work together with pipeline builders.
"We want to be owners of a pipeline," said Adam, who has in the past been critical of the oilsands.
What we are looking for is potential partners to come and join with us and thus we can start lobbying the government in a proper way.
"We think that the pipeline is the most critical component to the oil and gas sector especially from this region."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)