Trans Mountain pipeline battle continues, B.C. still plans on going ahead with legal case
B.C. Premier John Horgan says his government is still strongly opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline twinning and will continue on with a reference case to determine if the province has the jurisdictional right to stop the project.
Horgan met with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for an hour and 45 minutes on Sunday in Ottawa.
WATCH HERE: John Horgan continues to disagree with trans mountain pipeline plan
“Despite all the commonality between the three of us we continue to disagree on the question of moving diluted bitumen from Alberta to the port of Vancouver,” Horgan said. “It has been my view that it is the job of the premier of British Columbia to be diligent and ensure that we are not just protecting our environment but we are maintaining a competitive and diverse economy.”
Horgan once again asked Alberta and the federal government to join British Columbia’s reference case to ask the courts to rule on the legal jurisdiction British Columbia has in connection to the project. Horgan says both sides declined to join the case and that B.C. will have the question done by the end of April.
WATCH: Pipeline Politics
The federal government also announced it was at looking legislation to make it’s jurisdiction in the project clear but said they are not planning any financial penalties to British Columbia for not supporting the project.
“The prime minister said quite unequivocally that he had no intention of threatening British Columbians when it came to transfer payments or any other joint projects that the federal and provincial governments are working on,” said Horgan. “When I asked premier Notley what her intentions were she said their legislative session is very brief and they were going to being it enabling legislation and they didn’t necessarily think they were going to act on it.”
The federal government is also planning ‘financial measures’, which could include taking a financial stake in the pipeline project. Alberta premier Rachel Notley says her government and the federal government have entered talks with Kinder Morgan to work out ‘financial arrangements’ around the pipeline. Notley could not say any more about potentially buying a stake in the pipeline because of the ongoing negotiations.
Notley’s new legislation, that is expected on Monday, would allow the Alberta government to cut off shipments of refined oil and gas to British Columbia.
Watch below: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says that “there is only one outcome… and that outcome is the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline.”
There were few details on how much of the pipeline Ottawa or Alberta would invest in or when that investment may tax place. Horgan says taxpayers across the country should be concerned about the proposition.
“If taxpayers are now going to be in the pipeline business, then taxpayers should have a reasonable expectation that they will know the financial situation of the company we are investing in,” said Horgan.
The Ocean Protection Plan was introduced by the Trudeau government as a $1.5-billion commitment to bolster oil spill response on Canada’s coasts. Horgan says he is concerned that some areas, including Bella Bella, still are not supported in case there was a major spill. Horgan says British Columbia is also unclear on who would be on the financial hook for taking care of clean up.
“Our marine economy is considerable, our wild salmon stocks are depleting,” Horgan said. “Our tourism industry would be severely compromised with an adverse diluted bitumen spill. At the end of the day we agreed there may well be an opportunity to have officials address some of the gaps we foresee in the Ocean Protection Plan.”
The meeting in Ottawa was triggered by an announcement from Kinder Morgan on April 8 that the company had stopped non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline twinning project. The $7.4-billion dollar project would see three times as much bitumen flow from north of Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. The Trans Mountain expansion would also lead to a seven-fold increase of tanker traffic along B.C.’s coast.
WATCH: Notley comments on Alberta unleashing economic consequence on B.C.
Kinder Morgan has warned that it will cancel the project unless an agreement is reached by May 31 to ensure that British Columbia would not stand in the way of the completion of construction.
“Our objectives are to obtain certainty with respect to the ability to construct through BC and for the protection of our shareholders in order to build the Trans Mountain Expansion Project,” said the company in a statement on Sunday. “As we said last week, we do not intend to issue updates or further disclosures on the status of consultations until we’ve reached a sufficiently definitive agreement on or before May 31 that satisfies our objectives.”
Watch below: British Columbia Premier John Horgan says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told him that the federal government will move ahead to pass legislation for the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Trudeau is now scheduled to travel to Paris for his first official visit to France and a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Trudeau arrived in Ottawa for Sunday’s meeting after meeting with 30 Western Hemisphere leaders at the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru.
In France, Trudeau will also address the French National Assembly and hold several speaking engagements. The prime minister will end his tour in London, where he will meet the Queen and British Prime Minister Theresa May before joining leaders from 52 other nations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, where trade will top the agenda.
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