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Saskatchewan wants Ottawa to get tough with B.C. over Trans Mountain pipeline

REGINA, S.K. –  Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is calling on the Prime Minister to get tough with British Columbia over its opposition to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.

Moe says Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government should withhold sending federal infrastructure money to B.C.

He says it has been a month since Trudeau met with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in Ottawa and the federal government has not introduced legislation to help get the project built.

Moe made the remarks on his Facebook page Tuesday and later expanded on them at the legislature in Regina.

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The $7.4-billion Trans Mountain project would triple the flow of heavy oil from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.

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Kinder Morgan, the company behind the pipeline, has warned it will pull the plug by May 31 if hurdles to the project remain.

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Moe says time is running out and Ottawa should take action.

“The Prime Minister has spent the last two weeks announcing nearly $200 million in funding to Toyota, Rio Tinto, and Alcoa in Quebec and Ontario, while only paying lip service for the last year and a half to Trans Mountain, on which tens of thousands of western Canadian energy sector jobs depend,” he wrote on Facebook.

“The Prime Minister can act now and make use of tools available to his government, like withholding of infrastructure funding to British Columbia to get this pipeline built.”

At the legislature, Moe says Saskatchewan will be putting forward proposals to reform Canada’s equalization payment system.

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He says Saskatchewan needs to get its agriculture, energy and other products to market if its economy is to continue to grow.

Moe says without better market access Saskatchewan may not be able to continue contributing to equalization. He notes the province contributed $580 million to the program that benefits have-not provinces last year.

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“I think it is time for us to look at this formula of equalization to ensure that provinces such as Saskatchewan can continue to be contributors, ” he said.

Moe declined to give examples of the changes Saskatchewan will seek to the federal equalization program but says his government will discuss them with other provinces in the months ahead.

Speaking in Calgary, Trudeau says his government is looking at legislative, legal and financial avenues to get the federally-approved Trans Mountain project moving.

But Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public.

(THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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