Trans Mountain approval a high wire act on which Trudeau is staking his future – by John Ivison (National Post – June 19, 2019)

The accusation that climate leaders don’t build pipelines stings and Trudeau is a reluctant proponent of Canadian crude

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion lives — at least until the next court challenge. Justin Trudeau was flanked by his most senior cabinet ministers as he announced his government has approved TMX, the twinning of the pipeline between Alberta and British Columbia.

The project, which was blocked last year by the Federal Court of Appeal, is back. Trudeau said the government acted on the court’s directive, ordering the National Energy Board to examine the impact TMX could have on the marine environment and redoubling efforts to consult with Indigenous communities.

Last October, the government re-launched those consultations, under the direction of former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, and eventually concluded that Canada had met its duty to consult.

“At the end of the day, we listened. And we are acting on what we heard,” he said. The government’s approval means the project will proceed, pending the requisite regulatory permits. Trudeau said the company plans to have shovels in the ground this construction season.

Those hopes may well be frustrated by legal appeals from First Nations along the route. A briefing by government officials revealed that the Coldwater First Nation in B.C.’s interior is still seeking a route change to protect its only aquifer against an oil spill.

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