Friday, 20 April, 2018

Prime Minister promises to make Trans Mountain Pipeline happen

Trudeau insists BC government has no authority to block Trans Mountain pipeline project Canada's Trudeau set for emergency summit on pipeline crisis
Patty Aguilar | 16 April, 2018, 05:56

"Except they've taken off the table use of the Constitutional Declaratory Power to bring legal certainty, they've taken off the power a...federal government court reference to the Supreme Court of Canada to steal the march on John Horgan's legal delay tactics in British Columbia and they've taken off the table the most obvious leverage the feds have, which is the power of the purse", he said. "It will be built". "It is a project in the national interest", Trudeau said, pointing out that the former B.C. government had initially approved the pipeline expansion.

Speaking after his meeting with the duelling premiers, Trudeau insisted that the Trans Mountain pipeline would go through. Horgan, however, betrayed no evidence that their confidence had anything to do with him.

However, B.C. won't drop its federal court challenge of the pipeline expansion, with Horgan telling reporters that a court challenge was the logical way to deal with jurisdictional conflicts.

The chasm between them did not go unacknowledged by the prime minister. "That's not how we must do business in Canada".

He added that they are in financial discussions with Kinder Morgan to "remove uncertainty" from the project, and are pursuing legislative options as well. He also promised legislation to "reassert and reinforce" the federal government's role and jurisdiction.

"The federal government, along with the government of Alberta, has commenced discussions with Kinder Morgan to establish a financial relationship that will eliminate investor risk", Notley said.

Kinder Morgan Canada, part of Kinder Morgan Inc, is threatening to abandon the project unless it receives sufficient clarity about the path ahead by May 31.

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

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A number of First Nations chiefs have said Indigenous rights have been forgotten in the inter-government quarrelling over the pipeline. Approval came in consultation with the previous B.C. Liberal government, which gave its consent to the project after its own conditions were met. His minority government exists at the pleasure of the Green party, and on condition of his continued opposition to the project.

Horgan made clear that Trudeau made no threats and made it clear he had no intention of punishing B.C. residents. But he also accused Horgan of ramping up his rhetoric about environmental uncertainty and gaps in the federal oceans protection plan, without providing details. Notley, meanwhile, said she's confident the federal commitments will see the expansion go ahead.

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.

Notley simply stated that the pipeline "will be built".

The prime minister didn't shy away from criticizing Horgan. He said government investment in the project would do nothing to solve B.C.'s continuing opposition.

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.

Many in the energy industry are concerned about whether quarrels over jurisdiction and increasingly vehement protests mean any new pipelines can be built in Canada, which sits on the world's third-largest proven reserves of crude and is the single largest exporter of energy to the United States.

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