Trans Mountain will be built, says Trudeau

Trans Mountain sera construit, dit Trudeau

OTTAWA — The prime minister Justin Trudeau was said to have asked his minister of Finance to undertake negotiations with the firm Kinder Morgan in order to”eliminate uncertainty” hovering on the expansion project of the oil pipeline of Trans Mountain.

Mr. Trudeau has also stated that a legislative measure was in the plans to “reaffirm and strengthen” the fact that the federal government has the jurisdiction to approve the project and ensure that it materializes.

However, he offered few details, saying that negotiations would not happen publicly.

Asked about the impact in the public opinion of a possible federal government financial contribution to the project, Mr. Trudeau argued that the expansion of the pipeline was in the “national interest”, that it would “receive more money for our resources” and create quality jobs.

“This demonstrates our commitment in 2015 is to create economic growth while protecting the environment”, he added, Sunday, at a press conference, following a meeting with the first minister of Alberta, Rachel Notley and the premier of British Columbia John Horgan to Ottawa to try to find a solution to the impasse between British Columbia and Alberta.

Ms Notley said that the federal government and the government of Alberta had agreed to a plan to eliminate the risk of investors surrounding the proposed expansion of Trans Mountain. Therefore, she argued, the pipeline “will be built”.

The opposition of the premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, Trans Mountain would be the main reason for the company Kinder Morgan has put the brakes on spending deemed non-essential with respect to the project a week ago.

Kinder Morgan has been granted to Mr. Trudeau until the end of may to find a solution that would offer investors a certain guarantee that the project is 7.4 billion $ can move forward. It should allow for more than double the capacity of the existing oil pipeline that connects Edmonton to Burnaby, British Columbia.

The government of Justin Trudeau has given the green light to the project last fall.

Crucial for the economy

Mr. Trudeau has already said repeatedly that his government had put in place the policies and the environmental protections necessary to reduce the risk of an oil spill, and that the expansion project to transport canadian resources on the export markets was crucial for the canadian economy.

“Ideally, we would not be in this situation”, said Mr. Trudeau after the meeting in Ottawa.

“Ideally, the speech and actions of the government of British Columbia would not have led to concerns of the company, which has obtained the approval to go ahead with a project that is in the national interest”, he added.

No punitive measure

The premier of British Columbia said that his meeting with Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Notley had done nothing to initiate its willingness to continue its efforts against the expansion of the oil pipeline of Trans Mountain.

Mr. Horgan said that Mr. Trudeau had made a “financial measures ” and laws” to advance the project, without giving more details. However, he stressed that the prime minister had not made any threat and had indicated clearly that he had no intention to punish the residents of British Columbia for their opposition to the project.

Prime minister Trudeau has tried during the press conference of more than 30 minutes to paint the portrait of a united country with varying needs and complex interests, with the goal of easing tensions persisted across the country in relation to the project.

“British Columbians and Albertans are not rivals; they are neighbours. They are men and women who wish what is best for themselves and for their countrymen,” said Mr. Trudeau.

In addition, Mr. Trudeau was said to be ready to do more with respect to the plan of protection of the oceans of $ 1.5 billion of its government with the aim of ensuring that the protections are the most stringent in force to reassure British Columbians about the absence of risk to their coast.

Not convinced

The press conference of the prime minister has not convinced opponents of the draft, far from it.

“The financing of a project doomed to failure, to impose a province, do not get the consent of the First Nations and disregard of science is the perfect recipe for strengthening the current crisis”, said the head of the campaign, Energy and Climate for Greenpeace Canada, Patrick Bonin.

“Ideally, the speech and actions of the government of British Columbia would not have led to concerns of [Kinder Morgan] ”

The prime minister Justin Trudeau

Professor Éric Pineault, the department of sociology and the Institute of environmental sciences of the University of Quebec at Montreal, has not shown itself so much more tender in the place of Justin Trudeau.

“Before he got elected, there were environmental values […]. By contrast, as prime minister, he changed his speech. He began to say that it was necessary to bring resources to the international markets”, he observed.

According to Mr. Pineault, the prime minister is heading now to put forward a two-dimensional position unrealistic.

“In his opinion, it is necessary to modernize environmental policies, but also supporting the extractive industry. It is an untenable position. He hung onto it anyway since he is in power,” argued the professor.

The latter indicated that, sooner or later, the head of the government will have to make a choice.

“He will have to arrange themselves in one camp or the other: either it continues to be the spokesperson for Kinder Morgan, it has played this role for Canadians who hold to a transition” toward more energy-green than oil, he added.

For its part, the company Kinder Morgan remained on his about-to-self.

“Our goal is to have the certainty of being able to build [the pipeline] in British Columbia and ensure that we protect our shareholders in order to carry out the project, Trans Mountain”, said the company by way of press release.

The company added that it did not intend to publish updates on the consultation that it is currently conducting until a final agreement which would allow him to reach his goals to be completed on or before 31 may.