Trudeau pledges money, new law for Trans Moun­tain

The Daily Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By MIA RABSON

OT­TAWA — Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is putting tax­payer money where his govern­ment’s mouth is, promis­ing to de­ploy both fi­nan­cial and leg­isla­tive tools to en­sure the dis­puted Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion be­tween Al­berta and Bri­tish Columbia is able to pro­ceed.

At the same time, how­ever, Trudeau — speak­ing after a rare Sun­day meet­ing with the war­ring pre­miers from both prov­inces — con­cedes there is more his Lib­eral govern­ment is will­ing to do to pro­tect the B.C. coast­line from a pos­si­ble oil spill.

Trudeau spoke at the end of a re­mark­able eight-hour stopover in the na­tional cap­i­tal, an un­sched­uled break from his over­seas trip to ac­com­mo­date the last-minute sum­mit with B.C.’s John Hor­gan, who has staked his govern­ment’s sur­vival on op­pos­ing the pipe­line, and Al­berta Pre­mier Rachel Not­ley, whose prov­ince’s eco­nomic health de­pends on it.

“The Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion is of vi­tal strate­gic in­ter­est to Canada,” Trudeau said fol­low­ing the two-hour meet­ing. “It will be built.”

It has been a week since Kin­der Mor­gan an­nounced it was halt­ing all non-es­sen­tial spend­ing on the plan to build a sec­ond, big­ger pipe­line par­al­lel to the ex­ist­ing one be­tween Edmonton and Burn­aby, B.C. The com­pany gave the Trudeau govern­ment un­til the end of May to re­as­sure its in­vestors the pipe­line would be built, de­spite mount­ing op­po­si­tion.

After the meet­ing, Not­ley and Trudeau ex­uded con­fi­dence the dead­line would be met and the pipe­line would pro­ceed. Hor­gan, how­ever, be­trayed no ev­i­dence that their con­fi­dence had any­thing to do with him. If any­thing, the po­si­tions of the two NDP pre­miers ap­peared all the more en­trenched when the meet­ing was over. Not­ley said leg­is­la­tion to al­low Al­berta to cut oil sup­plies to B.C., sure to send gas prices there soar­ing, would be in­tro­duced in the leg­is­la­ture this week. Hor­gan said a court challenge test­ing whether B.C. has the ju­ris­dic­tion to reg­u­late what can and can’t flow through the ex­pan­sion will pro­ceed be­fore the end of the month.

The chasm be­tween them did not go un­ac­knowl­edged by the prime min­is­ter.

“We must rec­og­nize that they re­main at an im­passe, which only the govern­ment of Canada has the ca­pac­ity and the au­thor­ity to re­solve,” he said.

Trudeau said he has in­structed Fi­nance Min­is­ter Bill Morneau to sit down with Kin­der Mor­gan to find a fi­nan­cial so­lu­tion that will soothe their in­vestors. He also promised leg­is­la­tion that would reaf­firm Ot­tawa’s au­thor­ity to press ahead with a de­vel­op­ment deemed to be in Canada’s na­tional in­ter­est.

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