No agreement on Trans Mountain after BC, Alberta premiers meet with Trudeau

No agreement on Trans Mountain after BC, Alberta premiers meet with Trudeau

Cheryl Sanders
April 16, 2018

Prime Minister Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday he has instructed his finance minister to begin talks with Kinder Morgan to "remove the uncertainty" hanging over the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that would almost triple the flow of oil from Canada's oil sands to the Pacific Coast.

Beatty said the Trudeau government should introduce a motion in the House of Commons that would seek "an affirmation by all members of Parliament that this project is in the national interest, and that the federal government is instructed to take any appropriate measures to ensure that the project moves ahead without further delay".

Kinder Morgan suspended all "non-essential" work on the project last Sunday, saying that it couldn't justify the cost of continuing construction as B.C.'s government fought the pipeline in court. He was supposed to fly to the French capital directly from Peru - where he attended the Summit of the Americas on Friday and Saturday - before he made a decision to sit down with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan on Parliament Hill.

Notley, meanwhile, said she felt "a lot better" following the meeting - and that once Morneau's talks with Kinder Morgan were complete, the project would proceed.

"The federal government can't buy off the opposition to this failing pipeline. the resistance continues to grow", said Mike Hudema of Greenpeace Canada.

The project was reportedly approved by the federal government in 2016.

"Sure we can get tough, but it's just so senseless", he said.

Trudeau said private, financial discussions will be held with Kinder Morgan in the coming days to remove uncertainty over the project. He said the government would "pursue legislative options" to "assert and reinforce jurisdiction in this matter". "What he is ignoring is that we are the uncertainty", said Will George, an organizer with Protect the Inlet from Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, in a press release Sunday.

Horgan's news conference was barely over before Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was at the podium, laying the blame for the impasse squarely at the prime minister's feet.

Beatty had harsh words for the B.C. government's opposition to the pipeline project.

"The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is of vital strategic interest to Canada", Trudeau said following the two-hour meeting.

"What is unbelievable to me is that there's so much mythology that's part of the discourse - a lot of it coming from Rachel Notley, but some things are being parroted in the mainstream media analysis about what the various governments can or cannot do", said Lee, who is also co-director of the Climate Justice Project, a research partnership with the University of British Columbia's School of Community and Regional Planning.

Trudeau said that his government continues to engage with Indigenous communities "who still have questions and concerns".

Indeed, knowledge is limited when it comes to how diluted bitumen - known colloquially as dilbit - interacts with water, and how best to contain and clean it up.

"What the government of British Columbia is doing undermines the national interest, divides the country, thwarts the rule of law and severely undercuts our ability to attract sorely needed investment to Canada", he said.

The energy sector, Scheer said, is now convinced that "Justin Trudeau does not want their business in Canada".

At the legislature Sunday, Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel said Ottawa already has the jurisdiction it needs.

Kenney repeated his calls for the prime minister to penalize withholding federal dollars for infrastructure and jobs training.

Other reports by iNewsToday