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Politicians looking for action after Trans Mountain suspension

Grande Prairie – Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin is urging the federal government to take more action when it comes to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. He criticizes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for not meeting with B.C. Premier John Horgan on his visit to the province last Thursday.

“A meeting with the premier is basically the bare minimum that we would expect. We would expect that the prime minister would sit down with the B.C. premier and see is there wouldn’t be an ability to move past this impasse.”

Trudeau visited the Canadian Coast Guard offices in Victoria, B.C., while Horgan was on the mainland in Kelowna on a campaign stop. On Sunday, Kinder Morgan announced it is suspending all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain project, giving the B.C. government until the end of May to give it clear approvals and protection for its shareholders.

Like Warkentin, Alberta Minister of Economic Trade and Development Deron Bilous argues Ottawa has not done enough to tell British Columbia the pipeline expansion project is in the country’s best interest. Speaking with 2day FM in Grande Prairie Monday, he said believes the government should be assuring the province of the pipeline’s safety.

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“Canada’s reputation is hanging on this project and the world is watching,” Bilous says. “This pipeline has gone through all of the approval processes from consultation with Indigenous communities to the environmental regs and oversight; it’s met all of the approvals and then some.”

Bilous maintains that the project is critical to the entire country. He says it’s not just about jobs in Alberta and B.C. or Canada’s GDP, it’s also a test of the Canadian rule of law.

“This is also a true test for international investors. My message to my counterparts at the federal level has been, ‘this pipeline is critical’; this is about investor confidence in Canada, and so we need to do everything we can to see this project built.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has vowed to do whatever it takes to move the pipeline project forward, suggesting Monday that the federal government could put “economic pressure” on the province of B.C. Legislation to give Alberta the authority to limit gas shipments to British Columbia could also be brought forward this week.

Warkentin argues that the fight should be between British Columbia and the federal government instead of Alberta, and questions why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t gotten more involved.

“He’s gone to great lengths to secure deals for other industries; he has gone on tours to demonstrate support for other industries. When it comes to the energy sector in Alberta, he has been nearly silent.”

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