Anti-pipeline activists in British Columbia are counting Kinder Morgan’s Sunday announcement as a small victory. The company made a statement yesterday that they are suspending all non-essential services on the Trans Mountain pipeline until further notice because they are concerned the resistance from B.C. will halt the project before its completion.
The pipeline expansion has been controversial from its outset with environmental and Indigenous activists protesting it at every stage. In just the past month, a total of 200 activists have been arrested around the Trans Mountain facilities in B.C. The federal government and the Alberta government both support the project for its potential job creation and economy boost, but B.C.’s premier is opposed. It is more the B.C. government’s resistance than the activists’ that is fazing Kinder Morgan.
Businesses hate uncertainty and with one of the three governments involved with this deal withdrawing support, Kinder Morgan is not about to risk its stakeholders. Since he took office as B.C. Premier in July 2017, John Horgan has stood firm against the pipeline, but his predecessors were supportive of it. In February of this year, Horgan and Alberta premier Rachel Notley nearly got into an all-out trade war over pipeline production when Notley temporarily banned imports of B.C. wines. That is not the kind of safe business environment an energy infrastructure company wants to operate in.
There are legal issues at stake too. The federal government has okayed the pipeline — which is usually the final word on any matter – but B.C.’s continued resistance might actually pose a constitutional crisis, according to BNN’s Jameson Berkow. The case will likely be pushed up to the Supreme Court of Canada to determine whether the federal government’s authority overrides provincial resistance. If the S.C.C. rules in the feds’ favour (which is likely) and the B.C. government ignores that ruling, we could be in for some big constitutional questions about the rule of law.
Canada is a country of the rule of law, and the federal government will act in the national interest. Access to world markets for Canadian resources is a core national interest. The Trans Mountain expansion will be built. https://t.co/97vvScpvOo
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 9, 2018