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

Business notes: WINGS set to close on Aug. 29

A few of the things going on in Cowichan’s business community

Collision knocks over fire hydrant on Ypres Street

Duncan firefighters quick to get situation under control

Pumps not needed on the Cowichan River this year

Wet year so far has resulted in higher water levels

Pig destined for sanctuary goes missing from Cobble Hill farm

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Devil’s Hand Poker Run in Campbell River to face RCMP scrutiny

The Campbell River RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the… Continue reading

B.C.’s fuel suppliers to publish prices to provide accountability: minister

Bruce Ralston says move will ensure industry publicly accountable for unexplained prices increases

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Missed rent payments because of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

Most Read