Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will convene a meeting this weekend between the leaders of Alberta and British Columbia, to try and resolve a growing dispute over an oil pipeline to the west coast.

Trudeau left Canada for the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru the morning of April 12, but his office said today he will be returning to Ottawa following that visit to convene the meeting on Sunday, April 15.

The prime minister wants B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan to reverse his stance, supported by a large and determined coalition of stakeholders in B.C., against the Trans Mountain Expansion project, which would triple the capacity of Texas-based Kinder Morgan’s existing pipeline, up to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.

The pipeline dispute reached a new level this week when Kinder Morgan announced it was suspending work on the $7.4-billion expansion because of the Horgan government’s opposition to the project. The B.C. premier has vowed to use all available tools to stop the pipeline expansion.

Trudeau, who approved the project, and Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley believe it is essential to Canada’s economic growth and the growth of the oil and gas sector. Alberta is home to the world's third largest reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Notley has accused Horgan of threatening the rule of law in Canada and has vowed to retaliate against B.C., including announcing plans to introduce legislation empowering Alberta to cut oil flows to the westernmost province.

“What I know is that the pipeline has to be built and I know that there is a growing understanding about that, in central Canada, in Toronto, in Ottawa, throughout the country, because, more and more, people are coming to see this as very symbolic of a much larger issue, as far as it relates to Canada’s economic fortunes going forward," Notley told reporters in Alberta after returning from a trip to Toronto.

She said she had productive discussions during her trip, including a meeting with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, but added that she wasn't going into Sunday's meeting "with any particular expecations."

Notley said her government would still proceed with legislation that could punish B.C.'s economy next week, regardless of the outcome of the Ottawa meeting.

"At the end of the day, my job is to stand up for Alberta and there is one and only one solution, and that solution is that the pipeline gets built without delay," she added. "There is no grey area on this matter."

Horgan wrote in a message on Twitter that he would be going into the meeting to defend B.C., its coast and its economy.

The Trudeau government, meanwhile, has said it is considering all options to resolve the dispute, including potentially withholding federal transfer payments to the B.C. government.

Both the federal and Alberta governments have also floated the possibility of investing public money to buy a stake in the pipeline project.

Trudeau's cabinet held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation. Ministers left the cabinet room in a hurry that day, rushing away from reporters and saying little, National Observer reported.

News of the Ottawa meeting with Notley and Horgan comes as 40 non-government groups released a letter to the prime minister on behalf of their Quebec members, urging Trudeau to kill the pipeline expansion project and ensure it doesn’t become part of his legacy.

The groups, including prominent environmental organizations such as Équiterre, the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique, Nature Québec, and the Regroupement vigilance hydrocarbures Québec, were also fierce opponents of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project, which was terminated last fall.

"The support that you continue to provide to the pipeline project casts a serious cloud on your credibility as a leader in the fight against climate change," the groups told Trudeau in the letter, dated April 12.

"Know that the population of Quebec attaches great importance to provincial and municipal authority on environmental issues. Allowing Kinder Morgan to move forward while overstepping municipal regulations and the provincial jurisdiction of British Columbia over its territory is unacceptable."

The Quebec groups also said that Trudeau's actions were damaging Canada's international reputation, urging his government to respect the rights of Indigenous people affected by the pipeline.

"Knowing that your government has committed to reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada, there can be no compromise on the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of communities enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which your government ratified."

Earlier this week, Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations also weighed into the debate, making a similar point.

"Together we must arrive at a process that respects rights, title, #FPIC and #UNDRIP," Bellegarde wrote on Twitter on April 10.

Trudeau was originally scheduled to visit Paris, France, from April 15 to 17, before moving on to London, United Kingdom. His office said the official visit to France will now proceed on April 16.

Editor's note: This article was updated at 5:10 p.m. on April 12, 2018 with new comments made by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

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Comments

Although it would be nice to just `turn off the tap' and cease using fossil fuels, grown-ups know that we have to take an incremental, sustained approach to doing so. Along with this, we have to ramp up assistance for users to turn to other means - such as more real programmes to help homeowners benefit from solar power with, for example, financial and, equally importantly, technical assistance (because I think there is a lack of knowledge) so we can move along with this. Surely, there are enough European countries whose models we can either adopt or adapt. Until we get the average person on board and knowledgeable, we are stuck. Until we find a way to supplant the economic addiction that we have to the fossil fuel dollar, we can't move forward. It'll be a long ride but that doesn't mean we bail out.
One of the biggest barriers to the federal government's long view approach is that the average voter is just not accustomed to thinking in those terms. Politics is so often about the short view.

I suspect most people don't know this, but the Alberta government already has a 30% rebate for solar installation. We are currently taking advantage of it....and are saddened that more people aren't doing so. For sure, if Kenny gets in, it will disappear, and coal be back on the radar.

Which is why, for me, your steady incremental approach doesn't seem very adult. Geriatric is more the term I'd use, although for elders, what better to spend their money on, than a little piece of the sun. We might have used your approach 40 years ago....but back then, when we did know the science, our Fossil Fuel giants hid the data and engaged in wasteful junk science. Which succeeded, big money trumping the free press quite handily.

Which means that now, in 2018....with only 32 years to 2050, incremental won't cut it. And hold on, the next few years of extreme weather will keep hammering that reality into our heads.

Alberta is leading in many aspects of what we need to do, but more Albertans need to pick up the slack. And even a simple 2 to 1 feed-in tariff for our microgeneration would be one more step in a better direction than threatening to become PetroCanada 2, and buy a pipeline with my tax dollars.

Adults all over this country, should demand real action. And be willing to fund it. The alternatives aren't pretty.

Grownups know that heavily subsidizing one industry, but not others, gives an unfair advantage to the "favourite child". If Alberta and Canada buy further in to the bitumen industry (which includes the dirty coal within it, petroleum coke, or petcoke), while leaving renewable energy products and means to market forces, then the vital transition needed will take as long as the new twinned pipeline will be in operation. That's at least 70 years, or three generations.

Not all taxpaying grownups want to buy into this, because they understand that where our money goes determines, to a large measure, our future.

Let's say that the switch to renewables is well on its way in 25 years, making the twinned pipeline a dinosaur and a big loser. Kinder Morgan can vanish overnight in bankruptcy. (Remember Enron? Many of the crafty architects of its demise now run Kinder Morgan, having cut and run before the law caught up with them. Look it up; not fake news.) Taxpayers keep the debt and must pay it off, while living with the environmental hangover, else go further into debt to clean it up.

Good to discuss this in light of how grownups think and operate. It can give us all something to aspire to and, we hope, achieve, before the babies and grand-babies of today become grownups who have to pay for our decisions.

Yes, of course, governments are investing in renewable energy developments, but nothing -- nothing! -- like the many $-billions given to fossil-fuel producers in subsidies of various sorts.

B.C.'s Site C dam might be considered a multi-billion dollar investment in a clean, green energy, but it's not needed by the general populace (lots of research proves this), rather it's a gift to the LNG industry, set to frack the hell out of central to northern B.C.

The tap is not being turned off. Canadians are asking that the tap not be turned wide open, when all signs and evidence show that we should not be expanding the infrastructure that supports fossil fuels. Those who oppose this pipeline are asking that we not pave the way to expand our extraction and shipping of bitumen to foreign nations, at the potential expense of BC's coastline, and in ignorance of climate science.

A serious spill on the West Coast would hugely harm fishing and tourism, at a minimum, as well as perhaps leave us liable to adjacent States, if their waters and economic interests are also fouled. All the more so if Canada and/or Alberta buy the project, which would be an incredible misuse of public dollars to drive profits to foreign corporations.

The pipeline already exists. The hope is to prevent a tripling of its capacity. Notley's interest in seeing it tripled is not so that Canadians can incrementally reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. She is worried for her political future, and singlemindedly focused on Alberta's job numbers and royalties. In other words, she too is happy to sell out the best interests of all our children and grandchildren for money and popularity, as is Trudeau. Neither likely have a working knowledge of the concepts of climate science, and that can only be purposeful ignorance, as the science is readily available and nicely summarized for everyone on the planet, on the IPCC website. Check out the 2013 report, the 5th since 1990 - nearly 30 years ago. The authors have even taken the trouble to produce an under 30-page Summary for Policymakers, with pictures and graphs and bullet points. Look at ipcc.ch under Publications and Data - Reports.

If we keep pouring money into fossil fuel infrastructure projects, we are putting off for decades any meaningful commitment to shifting to renewable energy. Once the pipeline is built, if they manage to ram it through, we are stuck with huge sunk costs that private interests and purposely uninformed politicians will argue demand ongoing exploitation of the tar sands. We already have the means to ship bitumen by pipeline and rail, and we should let market forces and wise government policy allow this harmful energy industry to die a natural death, while we instead, as a nation, consider the wellbeing of our children, our environment, and threatened species, and try to expedite a better way forward.

Continuing to push forward fossil fuel exploitation, given what we know and must pay attention to, represents a type of depraved indifference to the survival or demise of our own and other species, in the next several decades.

This grown-up is not for it. This grown-up is already taking as many steps as possible to expedite a transition, and expects other grown-ups could quite reasonably be expected to do likewise. Our (federal) government counts on the average voter trusting them to do the right thing, while instead they choose to continue to do the wrong thing, no matter the harm. That is an abuse of the public trust.

I would like to see the PM include more stakeholders - especially Indigenous leaders like Perry Bellegarde, who have been at the forefront of the environmental, political and legal challenges to pipeline expansion in B.C. and Canada.

White this meeting is a step in the right direction to clean up this mess the Indigenous leaders most affected by the pipeline are absent. So much for listening to the Indigenous Nations.
Trudeau has take one step forward and many steps backward by not including the Indigenous nation.
Sad day for Canada, too many empty words out of our Prime Ministers mouth.

White this meeting is a step in the right direction to clean up this mess the Indigenous leaders most affected by the pipeline are absent. So much for listening to the Indigenous Nations.
Trudeau has take one step forward and many steps backward by not including the Indigenous nation.
Sad day for Canada, too many empty words out of our Prime Ministers mouth.

Big thank you to Quebec for standing behind our resistance to this environmentally and economically insane pipedream. And I might add politically insane for Trudeau, as he will lose huge numbers of votes in BC and Quebec, which were major bases of support in the last election. Show leadership Trudeau, and support the huge new green economy and true reconciliation with First Nations!

https://www.egbc.ca/getmedia/e8d858f5-e175-4536-8834-34a383671c13/APEGBC...
CODE OF ETHICS
… In keeping with these basic tenets, members and licensees shall: 1) Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public….
…and 9) Report to their association or other appropriate agencies any hazardous, illegal or unethical professional decisions or practices by members, licensees or others.…was the government decision ‘unethical ?,hazardous?, illegal…

Did the novice government err when they approved a pipeline proposal without first having their own professional engineers review the ‘public safety aspects’ of the Trans Mountain Expansion(TMX) pipeline proposal?
We know that governments were anxious to earn the export revenues as soon possible but was missing a critical public safety issue unwise…maybe illegal ?
Professional engineers (require that public safety is paramount) …were/should they have been consulted… …should the TMX project’ not proceed’ until this matter is cleared up.

Carl Shalansky, P. Eng. (Retired)
Blog: https://redfern3359.wordpress.com/
(604) 986-4657

I believe Grand Chief Stewart Phillips should also be at the table with Trudeau, Rachel Notley and John Horgan this week end, have you heard any discussion about that possibility and will it be another instance of not being consulted and included in negotiations which could be used in Court later.
Thanks
Tom

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