A summit between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan didn’t break the impasse over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Frankly, it would have been naive to imagine the B.C. premier would abandon his opposition to the project.

Horgan leads his province through the support of three Green party MLAs who vigorously object to Kinder Morgan’s plan to twin the existing pipeline between Alberta and Burnaby, B.C. If Horgan were to be reasonable, and admit he has no authority to stop a project in the national interest, he’d lose his shaky grip on power.

There is reason for optimism, however, after Sunday’s meeting. Trudeau says his Liberal government will introduce legislation to ensure Trans Mountain is built. Along with Alberta, Ottawa will also explore financial supports that could persuade Kinder Morgan to proceed with construction after suspending unessential work because of the ongoing uncertainty created in British Columbia.

The company wants confidence the pipeline can proceed by May 31, or it may walk away from the project, which is being counted on to help Canada get a better price for its oil by expanding exports beyond the United States. Trudeau estimates the inability to get Alberta’s oil to world markets costs the Canadian economy $15 billion a year — revenue that could go to funding health care, education, social services and other investments.

Trudeau must follow through on his promises as quickly as possible. It’s always been clear the federal government has jurisdiction over infrastructure such as pipelines, but if “exerting its constitutional authority” gets Horgan’s attention, then the measure is worthwhile.

It’s also useful to investigate what financial assurances could be made to provide Kinder Morgan with confidence the project will go ahead. Putting public dollars at risk in such an arrangement is usually best avoided, but Horgan’s stunts, …read more

Source:: Calgary Herald


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