Vancouver Sun

Trudeau gov­ern­ment faces pres­sure to step into dis­pute

- MIA RABSON Canada News · Politics · Industries · Energy · Justin Trudeau · British Columbia · Ottawa · Rachel Notley · John Horgan · Green Party of Canada · Catherine McKenna · Ian Anderson

Just be­cause Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is re­fus­ing to wade pub­licly into the emerg­ing pipe­line-in­duced trade war be­tween Bri­tish Columbia and Al­berta, that doesn’t mean things aren’t hap­pen­ing out of the pub­lic eye, his en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter sug­gested Wed­nes­day.

Speak­ing in French af­ter the weekly gov­ern­ment cau­cus meet­ing, Cather­ine McKenna said things some­times hap­pen be­hind closed doors and that so­lu­tions are of­ten more eas­ily found with­out drama. Maybe so — but when it comes to the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line dis­pute, the no-drama ship has of­fi­cially sailed.

B.C. dropped the gloves last week when it floated the idea of a reg­u­la­tion to re­strict ex­panded flows of oil through the prov­ince with­out a guar­an­tee spills can be cleaned up — a mea­sure that would ef­fec­tively halt, if not kill out­right, the plan ap­proved by Ot­tawa in 2016 to triple ex­ist­ing pipe­line ca­pac­ity be­tween Al­berta and B.C.

Al­berta Premier Rachel Not­ley re­sponded by threat­en­ing le­gal ac­tion, can­celling talks to buy elec­tric­ity from B.C. and then by ban­ning im­ports of B.C. wine.

Po­lit­i­cally, Not­ley needs the pipe­line built to have any hope of re-elec­tion next year; B.C. Premier John Hor­gan cam­paigned on a prom­ise to kill it off. His mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment’s ten­u­ous grip on power de­pends on keep­ing the Green party happy — which means Hor­gan can’t back down.

Pres­sure is mount­ing on Trudeau to step into the dis­pute.

Trudeau’s pos­i­tive words of sup­port for the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line are all well and good, but at some point he will have to do more, said Kin­der Mor­gan CEO Ian An­der­son.

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