Prime Minister, premiers meet over controversial Trans Mountain pipeline

Prime Minister, premiers meet over controversial Trans Mountain pipeline

The dispute in Canada's west has oil-rich Alberta boycotting trade with British Columbia over its environment-based opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Opponents of the pipeline point to the risk of oil spills at sea and say it flouts Trudeau's commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "We have important discussions ahead, and I'm looking forward to it", Trudeau said at the outset of the session with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan.

Many in the energy industry are concerned about whether quarrels over jurisdiction and increasingly vehement protests mean any new pipelines can be built in Canada, which sits on the world's third-largest proven reserves of crude and is the single largest exporter of energy to the United States.

Horgan, Notley and Trudeau met on Parliament Hill in hopes of finding a solution to the impasse between the two provinces, which is threatening to kill the expansion project.

The big questions out of today's meeting seem to be not whether Horgan will back down - that prospect is most unlikely - but whether Ottawa and Alberta are ready to say how far they will go to reassure Kinder Morgan investors.

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"I believe at this point in the proceeding we had a fair and frank discussion, my obligation is to the people of BC and I'm going to defend that until I'm no longer the Premier". Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr also took part in the meeting.

Horgan's opposition to Trans Mountain - rooted in part in the fact his tenuous NDP government depends on the support of the Green party, which staunchly opposes the project - is the main reason Kinder Morgan put the brakes on non-essential spending on the project a week ago.

"Except they've taken off the table use of the Constitutional Declaratory Power to bring legal certainty, they've taken off the power a...federal government court reference to the Supreme Court of Canada to steal the march on John Horgan's legal delay tactics in British Columbia and they've taken off the table the most obvious leverage the feds have, which is the power of the purse", he said. With the Alberta oil stranded in that province due to the political obstructionist approach to prosperity being displayed by B.C. Premier John Horgan, and the continual nonsensical disturbances being seen nearly daily by the deniers of progress, the future not only of Canada but of B.C.is in jeopardy. The cabinet decided the project, which will build a new pipeline that runs parallel to an existing one but can carry twice as much, was in the national interest. But he said, "Canadians and people around the world know that we can not choose between what is good for the environment and good for the economy".

Kinder Morgan will, however, consult with various shareholders by May 31 in an effort to reach agreements that allow the project to proceed.

The meeting between the prime minister and the two provincial leaders marks the first time the three players have been in the same room at the same time.

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