Premier says no progress in pipeline dispute with Ottawa, protesters rally in Nanaimo

Premier says no progress in pipeline dispute with Ottawa, protesters rally in Nanaimo

WATCH: Loud protests broke out in downtown Nanaimo Wednesday outside the retreat where Justin Trudeau is meeting with his cabinet ministers.  As Skye Ryan reports, demonstrators say the Prime Minister has picked a fight with the West Coast and they are determined to make their anti-pipeline message heard.

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal cabinet in Nanaimo for a retreat this week, attention is ramping up again over the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline.

Protesters are rallying in front of the Vancouver Island Convention Centre where the group is meeting and are planning the upcoming parliamentary session in Ottawa.

WATCH: Anti-pipeline expansion protest outside the federal Liberal cabinet retreat in Nanaimo Wednesday morning.

The group against the Trans Mountain pipeline was carrying signs and making loud noises outside the convention centre with items including whistles, drums and bells.

“He is picking a fight with the West Coast. This pipeline is putting us back 100 years,” said sculptor George Rammell.
“Sooner or later he is going to have to wake up. Look we are in a cloud of smoke right now,” he said.

Inside the building, B.C. Premier John Horgan emerged from the cabinet meeting to say the Trans Mountain pipeline was discussed in a conversation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but no progress has been made in the stalemate between the two sides.

“The prime minister and I talk about that every time we speak. It is one irritant of a relationship that I believe is relatively positive,” Horgan said Wednesday morning.

“There is a whole host of values we share, a whole host of issues we want to work on together.”

The federal government announced in May it would purchase the existing project for $4.5 billion dollars, with the estimated completed cost of the twinning originally $7.4 billion.

Earlier this month, Kinder Morgan Canada said it believed finished the project would total $9.3 billion and take 12 months longer to finish.

Construction of the pipeline expansion slowed down because of opposition from Horgan’s NDP government, environmental activists and some Indigenous groups.

Horgan said the province is developing its reference case to determine what jurisdiction and ability it has to restrict what can flow in the pipeline.

The expansion would increase the amount of oil shipped from an existing Trans Mountain line from Edmonton to Burnaby, allowing more crude to be sent to foreign markets.

Horgan said opposing the pipeline is what his government ran on and remains committed to.

“We did talk about the ocean protection plan the federal government brought forward and that’s a good first step,” Horgan said.

“But when we think of the risk to our iconic wild salmon, resident killer whales, orcas in the Salish Sea are down to 75 population. It’s not sustainable at the time, and that could be further impacted by a sudden increase in tanker traffic.”


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