Canada's Trudeau defends pipeline project

Aubrey Yates
April 16, 2018

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by the Canadian division of Texas-based Kinder Morgan would dramatically increase the number of oil tankers traveling the shared waters between Canada and Washington state. With the Alberta oil stranded in that province due to the political obstructionist approach to prosperity being displayed by B.C. Premier John Horgan, and the continual nonsensical disturbances being seen nearly daily by the deniers of progress, the future not only of Canada but of B.C.is in jeopardy.

A second federal government source said the prime minister and senior cabinet members had worked behind the scenes for weeks, pressing British Columbia to change its position.

After meeting with provincial leaders Rachel Notley and John Horgan Sunday, Trudeau also said Ottawa will financially backstop the project with Alberta, if necessary; finance minister Bill Morneau will enter negotiations with pipeline owner Kinder Morgan.

Trudeau, speaking after an emergency summit with the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia, said "we are actively pursuing legislative options that will assert and reinforce the government of Canada's jurisdiction in this matter".

The face-to-face comes after Trudeau, whose government is struggling with a pipeline crisis at home, pitched Canada as a great place to invest by telling hundreds of business leaders "that big things can get done in Canada".

Finally, he says he's willing to expand and improve upon his government's $1.5 billion oceans protection plan in an effort to ensure the most stringent protections are available to reassure British Columbia its coasts are not at risk.

Trudeau said he is also willing to discuss with Horgan additional environmental protections that could give B.C. confidence over its shorelines and marine environments, but accused Horgan of refusing to tell him for almost a year what gaps Horgan feels exist in the existing or promised protections under the Oceans Protections Plan. We are demonstrating not just that we are exerting and understanding the responsibilities that come with the federal government, but demonstrating as well what we have long held - and what Canadians understand: "that the environment and the economy must go together".

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"That is exactly what we are doing", he said of the Trans Mountain salvage plan. The company set a firm deadline of May 31 to have that request fulfilled.

Kenney said in recent days the federal government has said everything's on the table to ensure construction, yet we aren't getting closer to getting this critical project built.

"I'm quite confident that should these discussions end successfully, that the pipeline will be built - and that is good, because the pipeline is in the national interest".

"This Prime Minister could not be less serious about this vital issue", said Leader of the United Conservative Party Jason Kenney. Trudeau said Friday that he condemns the attack "in the strongest possible terms".

Kenney said this inaction simply shows the total failure of the Liberal NDP strategy to defend Canada's energy industry.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will look for some common ground on North American free trade talks when he meet with Mexico's president Friday on the sidelines of a major global summit in Peru's capital.

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