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Critics of Kinder Morgan pipeline prepare to greet Trudeau at B.C. town hall

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NANAIMO, B.C. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making no apologies for his government’s support of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion from Alberta to the British Columbia coast.

Speaking on a CBC Vancouver Island morning radio show before a town-hall meeting in Nanaimo, Trudeau said the pipeline is a key part of the Liberal’s energy strategy and is in the national interest.

“We made a determination to move forward not just on the Kinder Morgan pipeline but on a national price on carbon pollution and on a historic oceans protection plan, and if you want to have any of those things, we have to have all of those things,” Trudeau said.

B.C. announced earlier this week that it plans to ban increased shipments of diluted bitumen off its coast until it can determine that shippers are prepared and able to properly clean up a spill.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has called that an unconstitutional attempt to get around federal approval of the Kinder Morgan project, which would triple the capacity of the pipeline and increase the number of tankers in Georgia Strait from five to 34 per month.

Trudeau said $1 billion has been spent to protect B.C.’s coast and completion of the pipeline is linked to Canada’s commitment to meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets.

“If we don’t move forward in getting our resources to markets overseas in safe and secure ways, the rest of the plan no longer holds,” he said during the radio interview.

“We won’t get the oceans protections plan investments, we won’t get a national price on carbon and we would never meet our Paris targets. So it’s a plan that all holds together.”

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Critics of federal support for the Kinder Morgan pipeline intend to rally outside the Nanaimo event, said a spokeswoman for the Georgia Strait Alliance.

If they can get inside, Christianne Wilhelmson said the groups’ members hope to ask Trudeau about the pipeline and about federal plans to protect endangered southern resident orcas from the threat posed by tanker noise in Georgia Strait.

Wilhelmson pledged any protests would remain peaceful. (CBC, CKAY, The Canadian Press)

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The Canadian Press

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