REGINA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the dispute between Alberta and British Columbia over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion isn’t the first time provinces have disagreed on a project.
Trudeau says there have been many times where provinces have taken what he calls “different perspectives” on a proposal.
He says it’s important that the federal government show leadership to make sure the national interest is served.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is threatening to expand a fight with B.C. over Kinder Morgan’s pipeline by reducing the amount of oil her province ships.
The pipeline dispute began earlier this year when B.C. said it would not allow increased oil shipments until it could do more research on pipeline safety and spill response.
Asked if Notley’s move will spur the federal government to get more aggressive on the project, Trudeau repeated that the pipeline will be built.
“What I have been very clear about is that this project is in the national interest and it will get built,” he said in Regina.
“The role of the federal government is to watch out and ensure that the national interest is always protected and promoted. That is what I will continue to do,” Trudeau said.
“We will continue to ensure that we are protecting the environment while growing the economy and working across the country to ensure the projects that are in the national interest — like the Kinder Morgan pipeline — move forward.”
Notley said Thursday that Alberta’s key focus is to get people’s attention about what is at stake. She said the pipeline is economically vital to the province and to the rest of Canada, and the country is already forgoing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in lost revenue due to pipeline bottlenecks.
The Trudeau government approved the Kinder Morgan project in 2016, but the pipeline has since faced permit fights and challenges from the B.C. government.
The $7.9-billion expansion would triple the amount of Alberta crude going from Edmonton to the port in Burnaby, B.C.