OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he talks to premiers regularly about the need to get a western pipeline expansion built, but stopped short of agreeing to intervene in an emerging trade war between British Columbia and Alberta.
Speaking to reporters before the weekly Liberal caucus meeting Wednesday, Trudeau says he is working with the provincial governments and will stand up for getting the pipeline built, but did not say anything about what exactly he will do to make that happen.
Trudeau is facing more and more pressure to intervene to get construction started on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which will triple capacity of the pipeline carrying oil from Alberta to a marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C.
Trudeau’s government approved the expansion more than a year ago, saying it was in the national interest, but opponents have managed to delay construction and last week B.C., moved to possibly halt it entirely with proposed regulations to ban increased flows of oil pending research into how a spill could be cleaned up.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley responded first with legal threats and then, on Tuesday, cut off imports of $70-million in wine from British Columbia in retaliation.
It is the latest chess move in the ongoing fight between the NDP governments in B.C., and Alberta as the former campaigned on a promise to stop the pipeline and the latter needs to get it built if it has any hope of getting re-elected next year.
Pipeline proponents are pushing Trudeau to act to get construction started.