Manitoba premier has wish list for meeting with Trudeau
Brian Pallister says West must have pipelines for economy to grow and easing of environmental rules
WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the prime minister must help unify the country by ensuring the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is built so that western oil can get coastal access to overseas markets.
The pipeline, the economy and crime are three of the things on Pallister’s agenda for a one-hour meeting with Justin Trudeau set for Friday in Ottawa.
“We’ve got to get the pipeline built,” Pallister said in his office Wednesday.
“I would say that it’s indelibly etched in my understanding that you can’t have social progress without economic progress.”
Pallister has dismissed talk of western separation and has not been as strident as the premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta recently in criticizing Trudeau. He appears to be putting much of the onus on the prime minister to mend the country’s fences.
He accused Trudeau of picking fights with premiers and pointed to reports of high suicide rates in Alberta’s oilpatch since the industry downturn.
“You’re talking about an incredibly stressful situation in the province of Alberta,” he said.
“We need to make the country work better, and the concerns that people have in Alberta and Saskatchewan — and elsewhere — can’t be ignored. They need to be addressed.
“The prime minister has said so following the (federal) election, but deeds matter more than words, so it’s time for action.” Pallister also wants Ottawa to cancel recent changes to environmental rules that pipelines and other projects must address before they can go ahead. The same legislation threatens flood-protection projects and hydro development that Manitoba needs, he said.
Pallister further plans to discuss crime and public safety with Trudeau, given a recent spike in homicides and other violent crimes in Winnipeg.