December 7, 2018 9:42 pm

Bill Kelly: Pipeline politics will dominate first ministers meeting

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the first session of the first ministers meeting flanked by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Quebec Premier Francois Legault in Montreal on Friday, December 7, 2018.


When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was setting the agenda for Friday’s first ministers meeting in Montreal, he said one of the main issues to be discussed had to be knocking down interprovincial trade barriers.

The reality is that interprovincial trade will likely receive little to no attention because this group of angry premiers wants pipeline politics to dominate the day.

READ MORE: N.B. premier still hopes to convince Quebec of Energy East benefits

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs wants to revive the Energy East pipeline, while Quebec Premier François Legault says there’s no way Quebec will support such an idea.

Out west, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley wants help to get Albertan oil to the west coast for export rather than get stuck with the discount price that the Americans pay for Alberta oil.

WATCH: Global News coverage of Alberta’s oil industry

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But B.C. Premier John Horgan has gone to court to stop the much-needed Trans Mountain expansion, leaving the federal government scrambling to find alternative solutions.

As if that’s not trouble enough, the prime minister will have to deal with the Gang of Four: Higgs, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, who are also heading to court to try to block Trudeau’s carbon tax legislation.

READ MORE: Trudeau government would reject Jason Kenney, taxpayers group but welcome Suzuki in carbon tax court fight

After 10 years of the Harper government ignoring these first ministers meetings, Trudeau was praised for resurrecting the idea when he became prime minister.

As things heat up behind closed doors at today’s meeting, the prime minister might regret that decision.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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