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Canada considering investing in controversial pipeline

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau left and finance minister Bill Morneau.
Canadian Press

Kinder Morgan has suspended spending on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, citing the "continued actions in opposition to the project by the province of British Columbia".

"I think both the prime minister and Alberta premier have been clear - and I think so clear that they can't let the pipeline not go ahead", Tombe said".

"I impressed upon him the importance of working together and respecting the federal responsibility for protecting things that are in the national interest, " Trudeau said.

To add to the complications, much of the opposition to the project comes not from critics who object to the pipeline itself but from those who worry that the increased tanker traffic resulting from the pipeline might foul B.C.'s pristine coastline. "If the rule of law is not upheld and this project is allowed to fail, it will have a chilling effect on investment not just in British Columbia, but across the entire country". (TSX:SU) Fort Hills oil sands project.

A Federal Court is expected to release a ruling before the summer on a challenge from some First Nations, including the Tsleil-Waututh, supported by the B.C. government, of the Trudeau government's approval. "A lot of that supports some of the social programs that we've been doing". But now, he said, the rubber is hitting the road and Trudeau is going to have to be bold. But maybe he knows something we don't.

Notley's tactic, however, seems geared towards making the Alberta government a partner in the pipeline project. It also reduced its holding in Autonation Inc (NYSE:AN) by 142,403 shares in the quarter, leaving it with 1.77 million shares, and cut its stake in Bank Of America Corp (NYSE:BAC).

"There's very serious economic and employment ramifications in Kamloops all the way up the Thompson Valley", Milobar said.

The City of Burnaby said late last month it will not pay RCMP overtime costs related to Trans Mountain because its citizens oppose the project.

Horgan said those are risks he's not willing to accept.

He said the pipeline was initially intended for domestic supply and noted the global economy is decarbonizing.

Opponents say the pipeline would lead to oil spills and push Canada's climate change targets out of reach by driving expansion in Alberta's oilsands sector.

In Texas and Oklahoma, for instance, unemployment is under 4.0 per cent.

With a summer construction ramp-up looming, the company said it would need to spend $300 million to $400 million a month on the expansion project this year. "I do worry about the displacement of workers". Critics have said he needs to be more forceful with the provincial government in British Columbia, which is vowing to do all it can to halt the project. Hines wants communities to have a say in the project. But if Trans Mountain is blocked, he will have let his country down.

There is doubtless no small amount of posturing in the company's decision to publicly announce the suspension of non-essential spending on the controversial project pending "clarity on the path forward".

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said in a statement that "with all our partners, we continue to consider all available options".

According to Kinder Morgan president and CEO Steve Kean, the company has put $1.1 billion into the $7.4 billion pipeline, including funds spent on upgrading the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. President Chris Gardner said in a statement, "This decision will send a simple chilling message to businesses looking to start or expand major projects here - stay away from B.C. because you can not rely on the government to honour its commitments or follow the law".

His tone ran from calm to exasperated during a 30-minute question period in the legislature where the Opposition Liberals accused his government of hurting investor confidence, ignoring the rule of law and picking an unwinnable fight with Alberta and the federal government.

The federal government had also received warnings in internal briefings that Indigenous leaders felt it was rushing to conclude consultations instead of engaging with them in a meaningful way, National Observer reported in January.