UBC law professor questions Ottawas jurisdiction on planned pipeline expansion

UBC law professor questions Ottawa\s jurisdiction on planned pipeline expansion
Albertas opposition party leaders blast Trudeau, Notley for lack of progress with Horgan on pipeline issue
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has arrived in France as he continues more than a week of globetrotting following a brief stop in Ottawa Sunday to discuss the Trans Mountain pipeline crisis with the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia.

Trudeaus plane touched down in Paris early Monday local time. He was supposed to fly to the French capital directly from Peru — where he attended the Summit of the Americas on Friday and Saturday — before he decided to sit down with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan on Parliament Hill.

The backstory: In a series of not-for-attribution conversations with journalists covering Trudeaus trials and tribulations in India, Jean — or, to be scrupulously accurate, a (still officially) unnamed senior security advisor — allegedly blamed unspecified factions within the Indian government for orchestrating the addition of Jaspal Atwal to the guest list for a reception in Trudeaus honour at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi. Inviting the Indo-Canadian businessman and convicted attempted assassin was purported to be part of an ongoing effort to embarrass the government over its ostensible ties to the Sikh separatist movement.

Video: Canada stands with allies on Syria strikes: Trudeau

With that highly charged meeting now out of the way, Trudeau will turn his attention to what will be his first official visit to France, where hell meet with President Emmanuel Macron and address the National Assembly.

Lets face it: It was always a bit of a long shot — okay, make that a record-breaking, earth-to-the-moon-and-back-again long shot — that Sundays hastily convened trilateral mini-summit would end with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau striding triumphantly down the steps from his Centre Block office, flanked by New Democrat premiers Rachel Notley and John Horgan, each beaming an identical smile of satisfaction as they delivered a joint statement on how theyd managed to negotiate an end to the ongoing standoff over proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that somehow managed to make everyone happy.

The visit comes only days after France joined Britain and the U.S. in launching airstrikes against the Syrian government for an alleged chemical-weapon attack this month that killed at least 40 people and left hundreds more injured.

Trudeau has voiced support for the joint airstrikes. He will have a chance to discuss Syria and Russia, which has emerged as Syrian President Bashar Assads strongest backer, when he meets with Macron on Monday.

It may not hit the heights of unscripted drama that played out during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbergs appearance before a U.S. congressional committee last week, but the House privacy committee is about to launch its own investigation into the social media platform. Specifically, it’s looking to find out how terrabytes of personal details harvested from unwitting Facebook users — including over half a million Canadians — wound up in the electronic clutches of UK-based data firm Cambridge Analytica.

Video: No resolution for Trans Mountain pipeline project

Macron spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, before the airstrikes against Syria, and is scheduled to visit Russia in May.

Over the next few weeks, the committee is expected to call in senior executives from across the social media universe as members explore the implications of platform monopolies, as well as what national and international regulatory and legislative remedies might be considered to assure the privacy of citizens data and the integrity of democratic and electoral processes across the globe.

On Tuesday, Trudeau will become the first Canadian prime minister to address the French National Assembly and the most recent leader to be given that rare opportunity since King Felipe of Spain in June 2015.

As far as what hell actually say, well no one seems to know exactly how much light hell shed on what may or may not have been said behind closed doors. The very fact that hes testifying — voluntarily, even — on such a potentially sensitive issue falls so far outside the norm for senior security officials that even the pre-appearance speculation seems more highly speculative than usual.

His speech is expected to touch on the rise of nationalism, populism and xenophobia, which have become serious concerns in France and other parts of Europe in recent years.

Much of the prime ministers two-day visit will also focus on trade as Canada looks to ease its reliance on the U.S. market.

For their part, the Liberals insist theyve kept that pledge by only including measures that were announced as part of the budget, so expect to hear that debate continue throughout the week, which is as long as the government seems to be prepared to let it drag on before deploying its majority to wrap it up and send the bill off to committee for further study.

Trudeau promises financial backing for vital Trans Mountain pipeline

Trudeaus message will include highlighting the potential benefits of the new Canada-European Union free trade deal, which came into force in September.

First on the witness list is Canadas chief federal privacy watchdog Daniel Therrien, who is slated to share his thoughts and concerns with committee members on Tuesday morning. Later in the session, MPs will hear from self-described data breach hunter Chris Vickery, who will testify via videolink from Santa Clara, California.

The prime minister will also meet Michaelle Jean, the former governor general of Canada who is now head of the Francophonie, as well as the head of French aerospace giant Airbus, which has partnered with Canadian counterpart Bombardier on the latters C Series passenger planes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departs Ottawa on Sunday, April 15, 2018, en route to Paris, France. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has arrived in France as he continues more than a week of globetrotting following a brief stop in Ottawa Sunday to discuss the Trans Mountain pipeline crisis with the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia.

Don Martin talks to people and players who dominate the political scene.

On Tuesday, Trudeau will deliver a mid-afternoon speech to the National Assembly, as well as meet with French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe before taking off for London, where hes set to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit later this week.

Hosted by CTVs Don Martin, Power Play is a must for political insiders.

Trans Mountain pipeline: Justin Trudeau promising money, legislation to get it built

We’ve been saying it would come down to you. That’s you, as in you, the Canadian and Alberta taxpayer.

But while Trudeau did go further in outlining his governments next steps, he was light on the details, which will likely give his political adversaries more than enough fodder to continue to blame him, and his government, for the current contretemps.

Trudeau: New legislation will make Trans Mountain happen

It is your dough that will keep the pipeline alive. So goes the script.

Little surprise, the Indian government has denied those charges. Even less surprising, Trudeau and his team have demurred from commenting on the specifics of Jeans alleged claims, preferring instead to praise his professionalism and integrity.

We are told the exact amount of jingle and how the cash deal shapes up is still getting massaged by the money men in Calgary, Toronto, Houston and the Big Apple.

On the Senate side, the governments plan to roll out legalized pot sales across Canada this summer continues to dominate the committee agenda, with four separate senatorial panels set to continue their respective reviews of the legislation.
Albertas opposition party leaders blast Trudeau, Notley for lack of progress with Horgan on pipeline issue
Albertas opposition party leaders blast Trudeau, Notley for lack of progress with Horgan on pipeline issue

In the dying minutes of a very long press conference, the prime minister says he is not in his ideal world, whatever that would look like. Maybe it’s a world of dreams where a carbon tax does equal a pipeline. Or a world where B.C. Premier John Horgan would just shut up.

Bell: Trudeau and his less-than-ideal pipeline Plan B
Bell: Trudeau and his less-than-ideal pipeline Plan B

But, in the real world, Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion to the west coast faces a possible death sentence May 31.

On the Commons agenda:  Topping the governments to-do list will be the first phase of Finance Minister Bill Morneaus plan to implement his latest budget, which was introduced just before the House shut down for the Easter recess.

Kinder Morgan’s boardroom boys down in Houston have deep pockets but they’re tired of the uncertainty of their pipeline going through. They’re far from amused with the shenanigans of the B.C. NDP government led by no-surrender Premier Horgan.

For more than a month, the Conservatives have been calling for Jean to come before the House public safety committee to give MPs the very same off-the-record briefing he reportedly provided to the travelling press during the trip.

Trans Mountain pipeline battle continues, BC still plans on going ahead with legal case

So the feds in some way, shape or form are going to put taxpayer dough into this pipeline project. Alberta is willing to go the same route. In fact, Premier Notley talked about moolah before Trudeau ever did.

With coin headed to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion and the feds saying they’ll use their authority to get shovels in the ground, the pipeline presumably stays alive and gets built.

We dont know exactly what the trio agreed on, but during the series of post-meeting press conferences, each seemed to think it had been worth getting together to talk over the options in person.

Canadas Trudeau pledges money, new law pipeline happen

“Ideally, we wouldn’t be in this situation right now. Ideally, the rhetoric and actions by the B.C. government would not have led to the concerns of the company,” says Trudeau.

Meanwhile, Jean has maintained a steadfast silence, which is why it will likely be a standing-room-only crowd when he finally goes public with his side of the story tomorrow.

Trudeau adds his government was led to a point where they had to find another path. With Kinder Morgan talking about not going ahead, Trudeau had to “take the measures necessary.”

Notley confirms the Trudeau government and Alberta’s NDP government have started jawing over how to grease the pipeline, to nix the risk to the company.

Trudeaus promises to make Trans Mountain happen met with strong opposition
Trudeaus promises to make Trans Mountain happen met with strong opposition

After the meeting with Trudeau and B.C. Premier Horgan, Notley tells the national press how the B.C. NDP government creates uncertainty in the pipeline “by coming up with creative ways in which to inject a certain amount of legal debate.”

The West Block, Episode 32, Season 7

Yes, Notley is clearly tired of the B.C. government’s “esoteric jurisdictional debates for the purpose of harassing a project to death.”

TRANSLATION: Horgan’s court fights where those in the know say B.C. doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.

He says Trudeau did not threaten or intimidate. The PM made it “abundantly clear” he doesn’t wish to punish British Columbians.

On the issue of Ottawa holding back billions of bucks for construction and job training until the B.C. government plays nice, Trudeau’s sidekick Jim Carr says it wouldn’t be helpful.

Horgan still talks a good game. Despite self-styled smart sorts writing the B.C. premier off many weeks ago, Horgan is still standing. He’s still in the courts. He continues to disagree with Trudeau and Notley over shipping diluted bitumen from Alberta to the coast through this pipeline expansion.

“My obligation is to the people of B.C. and I’m going to defend them until I’m no longer the premier.”

Back in Alberta, United Conservative leader Jason Kenney says there is “continued hostility” to the pipeline from the B.C. NDP government.

The legal games have not stopped. The Trudeau government is too soft, unwilling to wield a big stick against the B.C. government.

“As long as we have a federal government not prepared to lay down the law with the B.C. New Democrats and lay down the law with the protesters promising a war in the woods then we don’t get a pipeline,” says Kenney, adding public dollars for the pipeline is an “absolute last resort.”

Meanwhile, there’s an anti-pipeline press conference Monday, high noon Vancouver time. 

And a protest leader Will George reminds us the finish line is a ways off.

Greens accuse Trudeau of doubling down on sunset industry whose expansion puts climate targets out of reach

“The prime minister is saying they are in negotiations with Kinder Morgan to ensure an end to uncertainty. What he is ignoring is we are the uncertainty.”

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