EDITORIAL: It’s time to play hardball with B.C.’s John Horgan

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making the right call in cutting short his trip to Peru to meet with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan on Sunday.

He needs to sort out the Kinder Morgan mess.

The past week has been entirely consumed by the news Kinder Morgan is putting their Trans Mountain pipeline on hold. They no longer feel they can justify sinking more money into non-essential spending citing obstruction and opposition from B.C.’s NDP government.

Trans Mountain has already been approved by the federal government and Kinder Morgan has signed agreements with the dozens of First Nations directly in the path of the pipeline. Yet Horgan’s government continues to come up with new reasons to stall the project, which is something the NDP leader pledged to do from the get go.

This isn’t about facts or fairness. It’s about an ideological opposition to the energy sector, consequences be damned.

And those consequences include a $7.4 billion investment into Canada’s economy and the oil sector and the thousands of jobs that will create, an estimated $73.5 billion in extra revenue for oil firms over 20 years and $46.7 billion in new taxes and royalties for government.

This whole mess is begging for national leadership.

Projections of global demand predict an increasing need for the oil Canada produces in years ahead. But if we don’t get our oil to market, we’ll be left out. Our economy will suffer for it.

Trudeau has always talked a big game on pipelines issues, repeatedly stating the economy and environment can go hand-in-hand. We don’t doubt he means this. 

After all, the federal cabinet’s approval of the project came with 157 binding conditions.

Now it’s time to get this project done.

Trudeau can try diplomacy but needs to be tough, for the good of all Canadians.

 If Horgan won’t play ball, cut B.C.’s transfer payments decrease, freeze further federal infrastructure money or otherwise make the point this selfish, ideological opposition has consequences.

The PM knows he has options on the table.

On Sunday he has to play hardball and make it clear he’s ready and willing to use them.

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