Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi speak to supporters during a Team Trudeau 2019 campaign event in Edmonton on Thursday, July 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Trudeau visits Alberta pipeline site, says national unity not under threat

It has been almost a month since the feds re-approved the Trans Mountain expansion

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is dismissing claims by conservative politicians that national unity is under threat.

The Liberal leader says conservative politicians are playing petty politics, which is hurting people across the country.

“Conservative politicians are choosing to play a high degree of politics, including bringing up threats to national unity, which we categorically reject,” Trudeau said Friday.

Trudeau stopped to visit workers at Edmonton’s Trans Mountain pipeline terminal, which is the start of the line that carries Alberta oil to a terminal in Burnaby, B.C.

It has been almost a month since Trudeau gave a second go-ahead to expanding the pipeline, after the courts overturned his government’s original approval.

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled Ottawa hadn’t done a good enough job with environmental reviews of the project, or consulting with Indigenous groups. Other politicians called on Ottawa to appeal, but it followed the court’s decision with more consultations.

READ MORE: ‘Protesting Grandpa’ arrested in snorkel gear at Trans Mountain terminal protest

In Edmonton, Trudeau said if it had appealed, the only people working on Trans Mountain this summer would be lawyers fighting in court.

He made no new announcements on the project other than to say that shovels would be in the ground “later this construction season.”

“The world has changed,” Trudeau said. “We’re not in a situation where a government can decide this is where we are laying down a railroad or a pipeline and it’s just going to happen.

“The processes we have to go through are more complicated now.”

Trudeau said that’s why the federal government moved forward with Bill C-69, an overhaul of federal environmental assessments for major construction projects, which has been become known as the anti-pipeline bill.

“All it does is say, ‘If you actually talk with Indigenous Peoples and if you think about environmental consequences, you are going to be able to move forward in a way that will survive any court challenges people bring forward.’ “

Trudeau then spoke with reporters.

“It’s important that the prime minister be here to remind Canadians that we do not have to pit one corner of the country against each other, that families here in Alberta want to see a cleaner, greener future for their kids at the same time as they need to keep putting food on their table,” he said.

Alberta’s United Conservative Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday, at the closing of the annual premiers’ conference in Saskatoon, that his province is frustrated with the federal government and other jurisdictions because it can’t get its resources to market.

The Trans Mountain project has been met with court challenges in B.C., while Quebec is firmly opposed to moving oil through its jurisdiction.

“The level of frustration and alienation that exists in Alberta right now towards Ottawa and the federation is, I believe, at its highest level, certainly in our country’s modern history,” Kenney told a news conference.

READ MORE: Canada’s bias meant improper consultations, says First Nations challenging pipeline

He said he doesn’t think Albertans really want to separate — they just want fairness, as their province contributes billions of dollars to the national economy.

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island College announces 2020 graduation award winners

North Island College has announced the award recipients for the 2020 Graduation… Continue reading

Couple opts for plan B for wedding in Courtenay

Pandemic restrictions prompt April Powell and Hayden Eely to change plans for the big day

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Union Bay water plant now finished

Work allows health authority to lift boil water advisory

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read