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Buying Trans Mountain pipeline outright an option: Notley

20 April 2018

The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion has a list of 53 First Nations in B.C. that oppose the project, while 33 have signed project benefit agreements in return for support of the project.

"There's no question the needle is moving on this issue,"said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute".

Don't look now, but our pipeline crisis has turned into a national unity crisis.

In Alberta, eight in 10 support the pipeline.

And if that happens, and there's little or no risk to Kinder Morgan investors, the B.C. government "can do whatever the heck they want". "We spent a lot of money on them in lawyers and consultants". I think we have so much to be gained through interprovincial trade, and what we've got - as any worldwide trade person will tell us - we have more barriers inside this country than we do with other countries.

The controversial pipeline project, which is supported by the federal and Alberta governments, would double the existing 1,100-km pipeline, almost triple the flow of diluted bitumen west, and increase tanker traffic sevenfold.

On April 8, the company announced it planned to stop all but "essential work" on the project, and gave the Canadian government until May 31 to give it the "clarity" it needs, or it would cancel the project.

The case may be up in the air, but Horgan is clearly losing ground in the court of public opinion.

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Canadians are also divided on how well political leaders are handling the dispute between B.C. and Alberta.

"The more they know about it, the more they're inclined to support it".

"The federal government can't buy off the opposition to this failing pipeline. the resistance continues to grow", said Mike Hudema of Greenpeace Canada.

In addition to the pipeline, large banners were hung on two of the building's columns along with a slightly larger than life cutout photo of the Prime Minister wearing a construction hat.

The protest came on Trudeau's first full day in London following a visit to Paris, where the pipeline was not discussed.

"British Columbians themselves remain anxious, troubled and alarmed by the risks associated with a tanker spill in Vancouver's Burrard Inlet", Angus Reid said in its report.

Oil spills and accidents at sea are top-of-mind concerns for both supporters and opponents of the TransMountain project as more than half of each group choose this as their top concern, the poll found.

So what line should Alberta take in the weeks ahead?

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He said it's an unusual and unfortunate situation that began with B.C. interfering in a federally approved interprovincial pipeline.

The plan, Carr said, is for legislation that would enhance the federal jurisdiction over pipelines - something the government says is already crystal clear, which is why it has balked at the idea of launching a time-consuming reference to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who also attended the talks in Ottawa, said she was convinced the expansion would be built if the financial assistance deal could be worked out.

"Why would you use the stick?" The government's $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan is created to account for such spills, he said, suggesting the government would make additional investments if need be.

It's hard (if not impossible) to see the damage that a failure on the Trans Mountain expansion would have on investor confidence in Western Canada (and the rest of Canada, for that matter).

A failure to build pipelines over the last decade has had impacts on the broader economy, with Canadian oil producers long suffering from a lack of available pipeline capacity to get their product to tidewater, causing the value of Canadian oil to fall compared to producers in the US and elsewhere.

The donnybrook over the need to build energy infrastructure in the country has become messy and divisive.

Chris Varcoe is a Calgary Herald columnist.

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Buying Trans Mountain pipeline outright an option: Notley