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Trudeau Puts Money Where His Mouth Is On Pipeline Dispute

16 April 2018

On Sunday, Ottawa will be making a renewed effort to convince British Columbia's government to halt any attempt to delay or block the Kinder Morgan project, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set to meet with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

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

The Trans Mountain project would twin an existing oil pipeline that extends from central Alberta to the west coast.

"Today in the meeting, one of the things we discussed was the fact that 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.

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.

Alberta, meanwhile, is considering buying a stake in the project to allay investor fears, and is urging Ottawa to match its investment.

Horgan refuted the notion that Ottawa would punish B.C. financially for opposing the pipeline, saying that there were "no threats, no intimidation" from Trudeau in the closed-door "collegial meeting among peers". "This is a series of discussions that are happening in Calgary, Toronto, Houston and NY. As soon as we have something to announce I promise you we will let you know".

Trudeau said he is also willing to discuss with Horgan additional environmental protections that could give B.C. confidence over its shorelines and marine environments, but accused Horgan of refusing to tell him for almost a year what gaps Horgan feels exist in the existing or promised protections under the Oceans Protections Plan.

"We can not change everything in our economies overnight", Trudeau said. Another 600 permits have yet to be requested by Trans Mountain.

Horgan says Trudeau laid out "legislative and financial measures" to push the project forward, but he did not elaborate. "We are simply demonstrating the resolve to actually deliver on that promise to Canadians".

Trudeau did not comment directly on Horgan's planned legal action, but was firm in his insistence that the government is "going to get the pipeline built".

Hence why May 31 is also the deadline the company gave the government to restore investor confidence in the project.

"If we have to, it'll be our Standing Rock", he said.

The prime minister revealed few details on the planned legislation and upcoming financial discussions, but he did share that the closed door talks between Morneau and Kinder Morgan "are happening" in Calgary, Toronto, Houston and NY.

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

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.

The meeting, convened at the last minute Thursday as Trudeau was departing for the Summit of the Americas in Peru, marked the first time the three leaders have all been in the same room together to hash out the dispute.

Trudeau Puts Money Where His Mouth Is On Pipeline Dispute