PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley on Sunday to try and find a solution to the Trans Mountain pipeline project dispute, the Canadian Press reported on Thursday. He will be flying back to Ottawa from Peru, where he is for the Summit of the Americas, to Ottawa for the meeting before resuming his travels to Paris and London on Monday.
B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver on Tuesday called for politicians to hold themselves to a higher standard of facts and evidence in discussions around the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“There is an inordinate amount of fear-mongering going on in the political climate surrounding Trans Mountain,” said Weaver.
“In 2018 in this country, our commitment to facts and the truth is more important than ever.
“Today in the House, the MLAs for Abbotsford West and Chilliwack-Hope implied that their communities are at risk due to bitumen shipments by rail, stoking fears that a Lac-Mégantic-style disaster could befall them if the Trans Mountain pipeline does not go through. This is patently false – the truth is that the train in the Lac-Mégantic tragedy was loaded with highly combustible Bakken crude, not heated bitumen or undiluted heavy crude.
“The risk of Trans Mountain lies in the way diluted bitumen behaves in an ocean spill. Studies using suspended particulate matter, which characterizes the water off B.C.’s coast, suggest that bitumen would in fact either form tar balls or sink. There is not sufficient scientific evidence on whether such a spill could be cleaned up.
“In Alberta, [Premier] Ms. [Rachel] Notley is engaging in her own fear-mongering by alleging this amounts to a ‘constitutional crisis’. It is irresponsible to be throwing such inflammatory terms around when B.C. is simply trying to consult with British Columbians and to seek scientific evidence about a substance that poses a significant risk to our communities and to our economy.
“The Prime Minister [Justin Trudeau] acknowledged that the NEB process that led to this project’s approval was flawed, and promised to subject it to a revised environmental assessment process. As an intervener in those NEB hearings, I know that they were woefully inadequate in terms of facts and evidence. For instance, the spill response was predicated on calm conditions and 20 hours’ worth of sunlight in a single day. This is unacceptable and ample evidence suggests that Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Notley’s attempt to strong arm B.C. into rolling over for this project is because of politics, not evidence.”
PREMIER John Horgan had issued the following statement regarding Kinder Morgan’s decision to suspend non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain expansion project:
“British Columbians expect their government to stand up for their interests and our coast, and to do everything we can to protect our land and waters, our coastal communities and our local economies.
“The federal process failed to consider B.C.’s interests and the risk to our province. We joined the federal challenge, started by others, to make that point.
“We believe we need to grow the economy, while protecting the environment. We want to work to address these challenges together. But we will always stand up for British Columbians, our environment and the thousands of jobs that depend on our coast.”
OFFICIAL Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson had called on Horgan on Monday to travel to Ottawa and “undo some of the damage he is causing to B.C.’s economy and reputation.”
Wilkinson said: “Premier Horgan and his government are the ones who picked this fight with the federal government, and it is British Columbians who will end up dealing with the consequences of any retaliatory actions.
“He needs to show he recognizes that the constitution is not something that can be ignored; that this project has already received federal approval; and that the people of British Columbia will prosper from the long term economic benefits of this project.
“The NDP has been slowly chipping away at B.C.’s competitive advantage since taking office, by putting up numerous obstacles to investment including very damaging tax policy created on the fly. Pretty soon, the only reputation B.C. will have left is one of political and economic instability.
“The Premier needs to go to Ottawa and stand up for the people of British Columbia, before B.C.’s economy suffers any further from the stubbornness of his activist government.”