Canada's Trudeau ready to offer aid to ensure pipeline is built

Florence Fletcher
April 16, 2018

- Legislative options - "We are actively pursuing legislative options that will assert, plus reinforce, the government of Canada's jurisdiction in this matter, which we know we clearly have", Mr Trudeau said.

The Kinder Morgan Canada pipeline issue has pitted Ottawa against the Pacific province of British Columbia and could turn into a constitutional crisis, derail Trudeau's energy strategy and dent business confidence.

More than half the countries with which Canada has free trade agreements are in the Americas, Trudeau said, and the hope is to add a deal with Latin America's largest trading bloc, Mercosur, to that tally.

Notley said legislation she promised that will allow it to alter flows of oil through the existing Trans Mountain pipeline into B.C.is going to be introduced in the Alberta legislature this week.

Notley spoke after an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premier of British Columbia, who opposes plans to nearly triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline from oil-rich Alberta to the west coast.

"We engaged in financial discussions with the pipeline owner, Kinder Morgan", he said.

"Ideally, the rhetoric and actions by the B.C. government would not have led to the concerns of the company, that got approval to move forward on a project that is in the national interest", he said.

Last Sunday, Kinder Morgan announced that it would be suspending all non-essential activities and spending related to the project.

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Trudeau has insisted the project should be completed but the British Columbia government has fought it in the courts.

The legislation is expected to reassert, in addition to the Constitution, Ottawa's authority over pipelines. But he said, "Canadians and people around the world know that we can not choose between what is good for the environment and good for the economy".

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

"I have instructed the minister of finance to initiate formal financial discussions with Kinder Morgan, the result of which will be to remove the uncertainty overhanging the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project", Trudeau told reporters, calling the line "a vital strategic interest to Canada".

He declined to give details on exactly what the ruling Liberals had in mind to end an impasse that is prompting investor unease and could threaten his political future.

The Liberals seem convinced only a small number of their 18 B.C. seats are at risk over approving a pipeline, but on Saturday, Quebec's minister for Canadian relations warned Trudeau it would be a mistake for Ottawa to ram through the project with no regard for provincial rules.

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. Canadian oil producers have long suffered from a lack of available pipeline capacity to get their product to market, causing the value of Canadian oil to fall compared to producers in the USA and elsewhere.

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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