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.

Just Posted

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame in Penticton

The 26th ceremony welcomed powerful figures both on and off the ice

Peach Classic Triathlon

While Penticton contemplates changes in the long-distance triathlon community with Ironman returning… Continue reading

Armchair Book Club: Delving into the threat of big tech

Heather Allen is a book reviewer for Black Press that lives in the Okanagan

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Showers to start weekend, sun returning soon

Environment Canada forecasts rain on Saturday and the heat returning next week

UPDATE: Penticton resident’s dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

COLUMN: Looking back to a time of optimism

The first lunar landing 50 years ago was a time to celebrate dreams and accomplishments

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Okanagan e-scooter company foils robberies

OGO Scooters staff helped return stolen property three times in 1st week of operations in Kelowna

Olympian brings women empowerment in sports to the Okanagan

Two-time medalist Natalie Spooner joined the Girls Rock the Rink event in Kelowna

Column: Understanding weather patterns a key to a successful garden

Columnist dives into Okanagan urban agriculture

Most Read