Trudeau insists B.C. government has no authority to block Trans Mountain pipeline project
Following a meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Trudeau is insisting that the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is within federal jurisdiction and that Horgan’s government has no jurisdiction to block it.
WATCH: Trudeau blames B.C. government for Trans Mountain pipeline construction uncertainty
At a news conference held shortly after Sunday’s meeting, Horgan insisted the discussions did nothing to end his ongoing efforts to block plans to expand an existing diluted bitumen line between the two provinces.
While Trudeau apparently laid out “legislative and financial measures” to push the project forward, Horgan argued when speaking to reporters that the prime minister did not elaborate. Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr also took part in the meeting.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says her province and the federal government have agreed on a plan to eliminate investor risk surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, though she refused to provide details.
Notley simply stated that the pipeline “will be built.”
Trudeau also spoke to reporters Sunday, stating that he’s instructed his finance minister to negotiate with Kinder Morgan to “remove the uncertainty” hanging over the expansion.
He added that federal legislation is coming that will “reassert and reinforce” the fact that the federal government is well within its jurisdiction to push the project forward, though offered few details.
Horgan’s opposition to Trans Mountain is rooted in part in the fact that his NDP government depends on the support of the Green Party, who opposes the project. This opposition is the main reason Kinder Morgan put the brakes on non-essential funding for the project approximately a week ago.
Following Sunday’s meeting between the prime minister and the two premiers, Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. Issues a statement.
“Our objectives are to obtain certainty with respect to the ability to construct through B.C. and for the protection of our shareholders in order to build the Trans Mountain expansion project,” the statement reads. “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.”
The meeting between the prime minister and the two provincial leaders marks the first time the three players have been in the same room at the same time.
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.
Trudeau attended the meeting with Notley and Horgan almost immediately upon his return from the Summit of the Americas in Peru.
-With files from the Canadian Press.