Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trudeau seeks talks with Kinder to get pipeline to Pacific built

Trudeau seeks talks with Kinder to get pipeline to Pacific built

Opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion also comes from Canada's First Nations, although Kinder Morgan claims that 43 indigenous communities support the project.

Politically, the dispute pits New Democratic Party governments in Alberta and British Columbia against each other.

The Wilderness Committee is among many environmental groups vehemently opposed to the project over concerns about oil spills and climate change linked to oil extraction and production.

Instead of banking on a long-shot win in the courts, Horgan is focusing on the safer play of enhanced protection for B.C. waters.

Houston-based developer Kinder Morgan has threatened to scrap the $7.4 billion (USD $5.9 billion) project unless political and legal opposition is resolved by May 31.

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On Sunday, Trudeau interrupted a foreign trip to meet the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia, reiterating his government's determination to see the project completed.

"I don't think it's any surprise to anyone that I don't think we would be in this situation if the British Columbia government hadn't continued to emphasize its opposition to the project", Trudeau said.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley similarly pledged to offer financial support to ensure the pipeline is built, and on Monday, her government in Edmonton introduced a new bill that will give its energy minister more powers to restrict oil and gas exports.

The mayor and MP for Burnaby joined aboriginal protesters Monday to express their determination to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, as the federal and Alberta governments stepped up efforts to move the project ahead. Since then, the Trudeau government has repeatedly said the decision falls within its jurisdiction.

Trudeau could cut off discretionary federal transfers to British Columbia to underscore his point.

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Speaking in the House of Commons, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr defended the pipeline, and said the government engaged in "unprecedented consultation" before approving the project in December 2016.

"Unfortunately, over the course of nearly a year, they have not specifically put forward proposals on how they would like to see us improve the oceans protection plan", said Trudeau. That, taken together with the current stalemate between the provincial government and the federal one, brings to clear contrast just how large the cultural differences are between the west and east coasts of Canada. The NDP, who find themselves sandwiched between two feuding NDP-led provincial governments have called on the Trudeau government to refer the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Meanwhile, Conservative MPs have hammered Trudeau over his handling of the file. As it stands, Canada is mostly dependent upon the United States of America as an oil buyer because of a lack of pipeline capacity to the Pacific coast - and thus sells much of its crude oil at a discount as compared to the benchmark CLc1.

"There are some difficulties obviously, on the regulatory front, but Keystone XL has largely cleared its last major regulatory hurdle at the end of previous year", he said.

"The Liberals have got to champion Canadian energy, Canadian innovation and Canadian jobs".

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