Enjoying a cordial relationship not long ago, British Columbia’s government and its business community are now at odds over the expansion of a major pipeline that runs through the province’s borders.
On Sunday, Kinder Morgan made the shocking announcement it would be suspending all non-essential activity on its Trans Mountain pipeline project. North America’s largest infrastructure company made the decision after relentless opposition from British Columbia’s progressive government.
The $7.4 billion-dollar project would bring millions in economic benefit and nearly triple the flow of oil from Canada’s oil sands to the Pacific Coast by expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline that stretches from Alberta to British Columbia. British Columbia Premier John Horgan’s hostility toward the idea of expansion — made out of environmental concerns — has been with push-back from the region’s business leaders, who overwhelmingly support the project.
“This is no longer about a pipeline project or whether one supports or opposes the legal movement of energy in Canada, which all Canadians and our economy rely on,” Business Council of BC CEO and President Greg D’Avignon said, according to a Monday press release from his organization. “Provoked by the B.C. government’s continued position, this is a referendum on whether British Columbia is open to investment and whether a legal enterprise can, with any confidence, invest, build and operate a business within the province and the country.”
The British Columbia Chamber of Commerce called on the B.C. government to discontinue its opposition to the project, according to a press release shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The implications here are seismic: if we can’t build this project, it will show the world that government approvals and rule of law count for nothing in Canada — we can’t let this happen,” BC Chamber of Commerce President Val Litwin stated on Monday.
Litwin was referring to Canada’s federal government, which had long ago given Kinder Morgan the green light to expand its pipeline. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who isn’t always supportive of pipeline projects in his country, approved the measure back in 2016 and referred to the plan as a matter of national interest. Many see Premier Horgan’s unrelenting opposition to its construction as open revolt of the government.
The BC Chamber of Commerce’s comprehensive study shows the province’s business community supports the Trans Mountain expansion project by a ratio of two-to-one.
The local business community joins Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who has been vociferous in her battle with Horgan. The leader of the oil-rich province went so far as to ask her country’s capital to withhold federal funding from British Columbia.
“We’ve already made that request to the federal government, and I believe that it is under consideration,” the conservative leader said Monday.
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