Feds working behind the scenes to get Trans Mountain pipeline built: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made comments while in Calgary Tuesday

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there are some critics who will never be convinced that he’s doing enough to ensure the Trans Mountain expansion project goes ahead, but he adds his government is working hard as a deadline imposed by pipeline builder Kinder Morgan fast approaches.

“Let’s be honest about these things. I don’t think there is anything that I can say that would reassure some of my critics who have such little faith in my government getting anything done for Alberta,” Trudeau said in Calgary on Tuesday after he reaffirmed Ottawa’s $1.5-billion commitment toward a light-rail transit project in the city.

“I don’t think there’s any magic phrase I can say that will have critics and skeptics put down their criticism and say, ‘You know what? The prime minister reassured me today.’”

As Trudeau spoke, a small group of protesters were heard shouting “Build KM” and “Build that pipe.”

The $7.4-billion Trans Mountain project would triple the flow of heavy oil products from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. Texas-based Kinder Morgan has warned it will pull the plug by month’s end if hurdles to expanding the pipeline through British Columbia remain.

Trudeau would not say whether he had meetings planned with any Kinder Morgan executives while he was in town. The company’s Canadian division was to hold its annual shareholder meeting in Calgary on Wednesday.

“I am very confident that all of our officials and our finance ministers and the folks involved in direct discussions with Kinder Morgan are extremely engaged with all necessary parties,” he said.

“As I’ve said many times, we continue to work very, very hard, both visibly and behind the scenes, and when we have something to announce, you guys will be the first to know.”

Trudeau said his government is looking at legislative, legal and financial avenues to get the project moving, but added he won’t negotiate in public.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he’s spoken with Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley several times about the pipeline and believes their support for the project is sincere.

“I’m confident that what you’re hearing is actually true, that both the federal and provincial governments are absolutely committed to getting this done and will use every tool in the toolbox they’ve got to make it happen,” he said.

“I’m super impatient, as we all are. I want to see shovels in the ground. But every time someone says to me they need to be doing more, I always say: ‘What exactly? What are you looking for? Is throwing Elizabeth May in jail enough for you?’”

May, the federal Green party leader, was arrested in Burnaby earlier this year while protesting the project, along with Kennedy Stewart, the NDP MP who is stepping down to run for Vancouver mayor.

Trudeau’s government approved expansion of the Trans Mountain line in 2016, but the B.C. government has been fighting it. Last month, Kinder Morgan stopped all non-essential spending on the project and said it wants assurances by the end of this month that the expansion will proceed.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Saanich police investigating sexual assault in broad daylight

Social media lit up with accusations incident took place at Regina Park tent city

Swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Oak Bay man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights can be misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Vancouver Whitecaps give up late goal in 2-2 draw with New York Red Bulls

Four of Vancouver’s next five games are at home

RCMP looking for missing Duncan teen

Dallas Macleod, 18, was last seen on Aug. 10

Most Read