Canada: Oil pipeline causes unprecedented crisis for Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds himself forced to change at the last minute a busy international agenda to try to resolve a political crisis related to oil, which his country is a major producer.

He will have to return to Ottawa Sunday between the Summit of the Americas that ends Saturday in Peru and a tour of France and the United Kingdom that begins Monday.

The expansion of a pipeline to the Pacific, authorized by the Canadian government, is at the origin of this crisis. The US proponent of the project threatens to abandon it because of fierce opposition from the province of British Columbia.

It is a blow for the Prime Minister who is particularly fond of this Trans Mountain pipeline whose objective is to triple the oil sands production capacity from the Province of Alberta to the Port of Vancouver from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels a day.

The $ 7.4 billion project Canadian dollars (4.8 billion euros) of the US group Kinder Morgan is currently the only short-term allow the oil industry in Alberta, the third reserve of black gold planet, to sell its growing production while the Canadian pipeline system is saturated.

But British Columbia, from where this oil should be loaded on ships to Asia, is staunchly opposed and intends to take the case to court again. , supported by a coalition of ecologists and indigenous communities.

 March against the Trans Mountain pipeline of Kinder Morgan, a US company in Burnaby, British Columbia, on March 10, 2018 (AFP / Archives - Jason Redmond )

March against the Trans Mountain pipeline of Kinder Morgan, a US company in Burnaby, British Columbia, on March 10, 2018 (AFP / Archives – Jason Redmond)

return this neighboring province of economic reprisals "very aggressive"

M. Trudeau to receive premiers of both provinces in Ottawa Sunday "to discuss next steps to advance the pipeline project," tweeted Cameron Ahmad, his spokesperson.

Fearing further delays in this authorized project in 2016, Kinder Morgan suspended the expansion on Sunday, calling for "clarity" for future events, and in particular "the possibility of doing work in British Columbia."

The American Group gave himself until May 31 to get along with "the different parties" in this file and "allow the project to move forward."

– More gas? –

The refusal of British Columbia, which fears that an accident will pollute its majestic coasts, has triggered the ire of the Government of Alberta, which depends on the exploitation of oil and is lacking oil pipelines to expand production

The Canadian oil industry is struggling to build new pipelines, particularly to the eastern provinces (Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces). In their absence, Canada, seventh largest producer of black gold in the world with a capacity of 3.9 million barrels a day, is forced to import from abroad 670,000 barrels per day to serve these regions, noted this week the National Energy Board.

After boycotting BC wine this winter and ceasing to buy electricity, Alberta threatens to introduce a bill Monday to cut off gasoline supplies.

The Federal Government being the only authority to authorize an oil pipeline between two provinces, Justin Trudeau called on British Columbia to "stop its obstruction" of this "project of national interest."

Ottawa and Alberta are also considering taking a stake in pipeline to reassure Kinder Morgan investors.

After rejecting a year and a half ago another pipeline supposed to connect Alberta to the coast of British Columbia, Mr. Trudeau defends this time the Expansion of Trans Mountain and insists that the economy and the protection of the environment can go hand in hand.

This position poses risks for him in view of the parliamentary elections of October 2019: he was elected on the promise e to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, one-quarter of which come from oil sands operations in Alberta

But British Columbia is one of three provinces, with Ontario and Quebec, having elected the most members of the party of Justin Trudeau in 2015, while Alberta has only three of the 183 Liberals in the House.

The situation is more perilous for the Prime Minister from British Columbia, John Horgan, who came to power last year while campaigning against the pipeline. The survival of his minority government depends on the support of three Green elected officials, who are very hostile to the project.