Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is cutting short a planned 10-day trip to seek a solution to the escalating Kinder Morgan Trans Canada pipeline crisis that is quickly becoming a constitutional battle.
Critics had already accused the globe-trotting PM of running away from another crisis before he agreed to return to Canada for an emergency meeting Sunday in search of compromise. As CBC News reports, Trudeau has scaled-back his latest trade tour, this time to Peru and Paris, to nine days in order to meet with the pipeline combatants.
Alberta desperately wants the pipeline built that would transport its oil through the neighboring province of British Columbia (B.C.) to the West Coast for export. The B.C. government, sharing power with the Green Party, has sided with environmental groups that want pipeline construction shut down.
The Trudeau government is supporting Alberta’s position but so far has offered little but words in support.
Alberta is threatening to restrict or stop shipments of oil to B.C. in retaliation to that province’s opposition to the pipeline. B.C. says even if the federal government orders the pipeline to cross its provincial territory, the province can dictate whether oil can flow within it.
Kinder Morgan, the company building the pipeline, has suspended its construction pending a decision by the federal government.
After Trudeau called an emergency cabinet meeting on Monday, the participants left with no apparent progress being made.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley met with Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau on Wednesday. She told reporters that she had received assurances that the federal government planned “swift action on this file”
But Notley’s patience is wearing thin. “There is one and only one solution, and that solution is that the pipeline gets built without delay,” Notley said from her provincial capitol in Edmonton.
B.C. Premier John Horgan insists he will do what he has to to “defend B.C.’s coast” he told reporters on Thursday.
“We’re doing it in a lawful manner and there’s nothing to stand down from. We are in court, we’re going to stay in court. We’re putting forward a reference. I welcome Alberta and Canada to join us.”