Ottawa, not provinces, have authority to approve Trans Mountain
February 9, 2018
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Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is working with her counterparts in Alberta and British Columbia to try to find a solution to the trade war emerging between the two provinces over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
According to Canadian Press, McKenna says she made separate phone calls Friday morning to Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips and B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman to make clear that the federal government had clear authority to approve the Trans Mountain project and will exert that authority to make sure it gets built.
A spokeswoman for McKenna adds that the minister made clear the federal government won’t stand down and allow a provincial government to infringe on Ottawa’s constitutional authority to decide about interprovincial infrastructure projects such as pipelines.
Last week British Columbia said it might regulate a stop to any expansion of oil flows through the province while it further studies how oil spills can be cleaned up. Alberta responded by cancelling talks to buy B.C. power and banning imports of B.C. wine.
McKenna says Canada is not wading into the trade dispute but is working to get the pipeline built; she says the prime minister has also called the premiers and her deputy minister is in B.C. right now working on the file.