Canada PM to act on pipeline crisis in days to come -province

Evarado Alatorre
Abril 16, 2018

Notley said her province and Ottawa had agreed on a plan to "eliminate" investor risk surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project - a commitment she said ensures the pipeline "will be built", although she refused to provide details.

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.

Kinder Morgan is threatening to pull out of the project by May 31 if the provinces and federal government do not reach an agreement, but Trudeau is hoping Finance Minister Bill Morneau will be able to "remove the uncertainty overhanging the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project".

Speaking before the meeting, a federal government source said past examples of help included a bailout of the auto industry in 2009, federal loan guarantees for a hydro-electric project and Ottawa's investment in an offshore energy project.

The move has been the subject of a heated trade battle between B.C. and Alberta since January and has seen almost 200 people arrested for demonstrating at Kinder Morgan work sites in Burnaby.

Horgan said he still plans to move ahead with a court reference to determine if B.C. has the authority to restrict the flow of diluted bitumen from Alberta through B.C. via pipeline or rail.

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 USA markets.

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

Environmentalists and aboriginal activists frequently demonstrate at Trans Mountain facilities and British Columbia police have arrested about 200 people since mid-March.

Mr Trudeau's Liberal government in 2016 approved the expansion project, aimed at helping landlocked Alberta ship its oil sands to the Pacific coast and then to overseas markets.

The B.C. premier said the three-hour meeting was civil but that he did not budge on his opposition to the pipeline. Rachel Notley, the premier of Alberta, had one objective, which is to get the pipeline built without delay.

The prime minister also pledged that new legislation will clearly define the jurisdiction of the federal government over projects that traverse provincial borders.

"I felt no threats or intimidation", Horgan said. Federal officials complain this is a time-wasting tactic.

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