Trudeau says First Nations can’t unilaterally block pipelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in an interview at The Canadian Press bureau in Ottawa on Monday, Dec 19, 2016. A picture of his father Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in Guyana in 1974 hangs on the wall behind. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in B.C. yesterday for the first time since approving the $6.8 billion Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline Expansion.

The Financial Post is reporting that Trudeau said he respects the right of opponents to vigorously protest the project, but also cautioned project critics to keep their protests within the parameters of Canadian law. This after some of the critics, including Green Party leader Elizabeth May, have threatened to engage in civil disobedience in protest of the pipeline expansion.

Trudeau said his government is balancing its controversial approval of the expansion with measures he hopes will ease concerns about the environment and public safety. The expanded pipeline would increase crude oil tanker traffic through Burrard Inlet from five to 34 vessels a month.

Some of the measures include the recently announced deal with provinces to bring in a national price on carbon, a $1.5 billion initiative to improve coastal safety, and a plan to protect the killer whale.

But Trudeau said Ottawa doesn’t recognize the unconditional right of First Nations to unilaterally block projects. “No, they don’t have a veto,” he said of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations that oppose the project.

He added that there are dozens of First Nations along the route in both B.C. and Alberta who support the project and have signed more than $300 million in economic benefit agreements.

Story courtesy The Financial Post: