UBC law professor questions Ottawa's jurisdiction on planned pipeline expansion

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Trudeau said the federal government supports the pipeline because it will produce high-paying jobs and would enable Canadian oil to be exported to markets outside of the domestic and US markets. The aim is to get rid of the uncertainty surrounding the company's proposed pipeline expansion project.

Trudeau spoke at the end of a remarkable eight-hour stopover in the national capital, an unscheduled break from his overseas trip to accommodate the last-minute summit with B.C.'s John Horgan, who has staked his government's survival on opposing the pipeline, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, whose province's economic health depends on it.

Trudeau also said legislation is coming that will "reassert and reinforce" the fact that the federal government is well within its power to approve the project and ensure it goes ahead.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau was in on the discussions along with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

"What he is ignoring is that we are the uncertainty", said Will George, an organizer with Protect the Inlet from Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, in a press release Sunday.

Kinder Morgan announced last week it has suspended non-essential activities and related spending on the project, and set a deadline of May 31 for the provincial and federal governments to resolve the myriad legal and political issues barring it from proceeding.

"Unfortunately, over the course of nearly a year, they have not specifically put forward proposals on how they would like to see us improve the oceans protection plan", said Trudeau.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association meanwhile insisted: "Premier Horgan is effectively ripping up a contract which Kinder Morgan negotiated in good faith with the federal and provincial governments of the day", said ICBA president Chris Gardner.

"What the government of British Columbia is doing undermines the national interest, divides the country, thwarts the rule of law and severely undercuts our ability to attract sorely needed investment to Canada", he said.

While Horgan also said the conversation was "frank", he was less enthused with the outcome.

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The project - which would triple the pipeline's capacity to carry Alberta's oil sands to port in Vancouver - is fiercely opposed by British Columbia's government, ecologists and indigenous groups who warn of a possible environmental disaster in the event of a leak.

That will be filed in the coming days.

"The approval process for this pipeline. featured the most extensive consultation with Indigenous communities across this country that we've ever seen", he said.

Beatty said the Trudeau government should introduce a motion in the House of Commons that would seek "an affirmation by all members of Parliament that this project is in the national interest, and that the federal government is instructed to take any appropriate measures to ensure that the project moves ahead without further delay".

Horgan is not the only vocal opponent of the project, however.

His comments were met with strong contempt from the environmentalists and First Nations who have come together to protest the pipeline expansion.

This week, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde also said First Nations are being "left out" of the Kinder Morgan discussion.

"Those efforts have been made in the past to simply dismiss and override the concerns of British Columbians, and certainly the concerns of Indigenous peoples", said Phillip.

Before Sunday's duelling news conferences were even complete, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was front and centre, accusing Trudeau of sitting on his hands for too long and frittering away investor confidence in Canada as a whole.

He said the meeting and the Prime Minister's remarks afterward were an opportunity to spell out what the next actions will be.

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