Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brought his cabinet back to the national capitol Tuesday for an emergency meeting sparked by a growing conflict over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline. Members of Parliament are currently in the midst of a two-week Easter break and back in their contituencies.
As the cabinet ministers emerged early Tuesday evening in Ottawa, it was clear that no decisions had been made and no concensus achieved except to repeat the government’s support for the pipeline.
“The government is 100 percent behind this pipeline,” Liberal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said as he left the meeting. “It’s important for Canada. It was made in the national interest. We believe that this is important for all regions of the country. We stand behind our decision.”
As the Canadian Press reports, the Liberal government has left little doubt that it is in favor of the pipeline project that is projected to bring Alberta oil from Edmonton to the west coast of British Columbia (B.C.)
Alberta supports the pipeline, while B.C., with a minority government controlled by the environmentally radical Green Party, is opposed to it — along with an increasingly edgy and noisy ecological coalition. Constitutionally, the federal government holds the trump card in the dispute, but Trudeau, while voicing his support for the project and frequently being the object of environmental protesters who usually support the climate change-fighting prime minister, has limited his involvement to words and not actions.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, that hasn’t changed.
Kinder Morgan, apparently fed-up with the chronic environmenal protests as it tries to build the pipeline, has halted work on the project.
In an attempt to persuade B.C. to give ground, Alberta is threatening to restrict oil exports to the neighboring province. Gas is already selling for almost $8 a gallon at the pumps in Vancouver, where a hefty carbon tax also helps to boost the price.
Alberta United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney had some back-handed praise for Tuesday’s meeting in a tweet:
Good that the Trudeau Liberals are holding an ’emergency’ Cabinet meeting on Trans Mountain today – 70 days after the BC NDP ramped up its attacks on the approved project. https://t.co/87nNxCGrjc #ableg #UCP #cdnpoli #CPC
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) April 10, 2018
Trudeau talked with B.C. Premier John Horgan and reiterated that ultimate decision on whether the pipeline proceeds or not is one that the federal government will make.
“I impressed upon him the importance of working together and respecting the federal responsibility for protecting things that are in the national interest,” Trudeau said at a Montreal news conference Monday. “This is a pipeline in the national interest and it will get built.”