Trudeau in talks to re­solve heated pipe­line dis­pute

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Business -

Canada’s Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said Sun­day his gov­ern­ment is hold­ing “fi­nan­cial dis­cus­sions” and weigh­ing leg­is­la­tion to help re­solve a high-stakes clash be­tween two Cana­dian prov­inces over a ma­jor pipe­line project. The dis­pute in Canada’s west has oil-rich Al­berta boy­cotting trade with Bri­tish Columbia over its en­vi­ron­ment­based op­po­si­tion to the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line. The spat has raised fears of a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis, and Trudeau’s own po­lit­i­cal fu­ture may be at stake. He in­ter­rupted a trip to Peru, France and Britain on Sun­day to re­turn to Ot­tawa to me­di­ate the spat. The project - which would triple the pipe­line’s ca­pac­ity to carry Al­berta’s oil sands to port in Van­cou­ver - is fiercely op­posed by Bri­tish Columbia’s gov­ern­ment, ecol­o­gists and indige­nous groups who warn of a pos­si­ble en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter in the event of a leak. Trudeau’s Lib­eral gov­ern­ment in 2016 ap­proved the ex­pan­sion project, aimed at help­ing land­locked Al­berta ship its oil sands to the Pa­cific coast and then to over­seas mar­kets.

“I have in­structed the min­is­ter of fi­nance to ini­ti­ate for­mal fi­nan­cial dis­cus­sions with Kinder Mor­gan ... to re­move the un­cer­tainty over­hang­ing the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion,” Trudeau said Sun­day. Kinder Mor­gan (a Texas en­ergy com­pany) re­cently sus­pended its pipe­line work amid the in­tense po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty, say­ing it would drop the project if the par­ties fail to re­solve their dif­fer­ences by May 31. Trudeau needs the sup­port of Bri­tish Columbia vot­ers to win a sec­ond term next year. But the hit to the econ­omy if the pipe­line isn’t built could also have dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects at the bal­lot box. Mean­while, Trudeau needs Al­berta on board to meet his in­ter­na­tional cli­mate com­mit­ments.

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