Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Prime Minister, premiers meet over controversial Trans Mountain pipeline

Prime Minister, premiers meet over controversial Trans Mountain pipeline

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 chose to sit down with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan on Parliament Hill.

The prime minister didn't shy away from criticizing Horgan.

Speaking after his meeting with the duelling premiers, Trudeau insisted that the Trans Mountain pipeline would go through.

He said the negotiations with Kinder Morgan wouldn't play out in public, and he would not elaborate on exactly what the legislation will say.

Trudeau said the federal government supports the pipeline because it will produce high-paying jobs and would enable Canadian oil to be exported to markets outside of the domestic and US markets.

Kinder Morgan halted work on Trans Mountain a week ago and set a May 31 deadline for a resolution, after Horgan's government said it was considering a fresh legal challenge. Approval came in consultation with the previous B.C. Liberal government, which gave its consent to the project after its own conditions were met.

The leader of Alberta's official opposition shared his thoughts about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton Sunday. Trudeau made it clear Sunday that Horgan and his government are the ones wholly responsible for the impasse.

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"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.

"Everyone wins in the sense it could have been much more belligerent", said David Moscrop, a political theorist who specializes in democratic deliberation and political decision-making at SFU. "That is why we are at this point right now".

Horgan and Trudeau did agree to "address the gaps" in the $1.5 billion federal Ocean Protection Plan.

"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.

Horgan blamed the lack of specifics on the dispute itself.

Except Indigenous communities, he added, who as usual were not at the table.

Horgan also said he would ask the courts in British Columbia to make clear how much powers the province had to protect the provincial environment.

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Lee said if the Alberta government believes the only way to create jobs is by increasing the production and export of fossil fuels, it should be investing in better refining capacity to avoid shipping diluted bitumen, which poses greater risks in ocean spills and has limited markets.

"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", she said.

"His damaging policies ... have only led to more uncertainty and instability in Canada's resource sector", Scheer said.

Alberta's Opposition leader, Jason Kenney, also said Sunday's meeting didn't bring the pipeline any closer to construction.

According to B.C.'s premier, it didn't produce any results.

One thing that didn't happen, she said, was a promise or threat by Trudeau to withhold federal transfer payments to B.C. He noted Trudeau's father would not have stood for what the Horgan government is doing - despite his reputation as an oilsands opponent.

Horgan referred to the meeting as "cordial" though acknowledged his disagreements with Trudeau and Notley over a number of issues.

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