Понедельник, 23 Апреля, 2018

Prime Minister, premiers meet over controversial Trans Mountain pipeline

Prime Minister, premiers meet over controversial Trans Mountain pipeline The big pipeline predicament: how far will Trudeau go to get it built
Sammy Stanley | 16 Апреля, 2018, 18:08

The reaction ranged from business as usual to outrage on both sides of the Kinder Morgan controversy following Sunday's meeting in Ottawa between Premiers John Horgan and Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Kinder Morgan announced last week it has suspended non-essential activities and related spending on the project, and set a deadline of May 31 for the provincial and federal governments to resolve the myriad legal and political issues barring it from proceeding.

Horgan said that Trudeau made no threats and made it clear he had no intention of punishing B.C. residents.

Horgan referred to the meeting as "cordial" though acknowledged his disagreements with Trudeau and Notley over a number of issues. Analysts suggest that could hike gas prices in the Lower Mainland over $2 per litre and would have an immediate, economy-wide impact on the province.

But Horgan emerged re-asserting his government's opposition to the pipeline. It is the political wrangling that threatens the financial viability of the pipeline, he said, and it's "too important to Canada to fail". He said whatever financial arrangement is reached will include protections for taxpayers.

Notley said her province and Ottawa had agreed on a plan to "eliminate" investor risk surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project - a commitment she said ensures the pipeline "will be built", although she refused to provide details. "This is a series of discussions that are happening in Calgary, Toronto, Houston and NY".

"I don't think their announcement was entirely arbitrary", he said.

If Ottawa was really serious about supporting the Trans Mountain pipeline, it would freeze all discretionary funding to B.C., said Alberta Opposition Leader Jason Kenney criticizing the results of a tri-party meeting Sunday.

Trudeau said he is also willing to discuss with Horgan additional environmental protections that could give B.C. confidence over its shorelines and marine environments, but accused Horgan of refusing to tell him for almost a year what gaps Horgan feels exist in the existing or promised protections under the Oceans Protections Plan. They wrote that "if the federal government tries to ram through this pipeline, it could mean going back to one of the darkest times in modern Canadian history: the Oka standoff with the Mohawk Nation". "We are simply demonstrating the resolve to actually deliver on that promise to Canadians".

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The head of Canada's largest business association hopes the Trudeau government won't invest in the pipeline and will use its legislative power.

Trudeau also said all of this is being done with a view to allowing Kinder Morgan to proceed on schedule. "If the federal government was serious about this, the simplest thing would have been two weeks ago, to pick up the phone and say, 'You know that meeting we scheduled to sign the ($4.1 billion) in infrastructure funds?"

"I'm quite confident that should these discussions end successfully, that the pipeline will be built - and that is good, because the pipeline is in the national interest".

"But we believe there is a real possibility that we could arrive at an agreement within the next several weeks for a renegotiated NAFTA that'll be a better deal for the American people".

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer also held a press conference to express his concerns about Trudeau's handling of the pipeline dispute.

"His damaging policies ... have only led to more uncertainty and instability in Canada's resource sector", Scheer said.

"It will be built", Trudeau told reporters, as he predicted work on the pipeline would begin again by early summer.

The last-minute meeting was called as Trudeau left for Peru on Thursday to attend the Summit of the Americas, which was overshadowed by Syria and where USA officials suggested a new North American free trade deal could be only weeks away.

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