B.C. Premier and PM Trudeau avoid Trans Mountain pipeline talk
B.C. Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met for the first time in Ottawa on Tuesday and dodged conversation over what is expected to be a contentious issue between two leaders.
Horgan and Trudeau did speak about a number other issues that they can agree on, specifically wildfire relief, the opioid crisis, the softwood lumber dispute with the U.S. and affordable housing.
When pressed for an answer about Kinder Morgan’s project, something that Horgan said he opposed through the entire election campaign earlier this year, he said it wasn’t the time to hold talks on the issue.
“1,000 people died last year in British Columbia of opioid overdoses and we’re projecting over 1,400 deaths potential this year. Fires are raging in British Columbia right now and tens of thousands of people are out of their homes. So we focused on those issues that we needed to focus on.”
Instead, Horgan wanted to focus on the common issues between them.
“Where we disagree on the Trans Mountain Pipeline; I have yet to have a thorough briefing from the attorney general’s ministry on legal cases that are currently in play. I have met with the leaders of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish First Nations and have heard very clearly their views on the matter and we’ll deal with those in the weeks and months ahead. But for today, our focus is on helping those who need help and building on the relationship that we need to have on those critical issues of helping the middle class and making life more affordable for British Columbians.”
Trudeau said that they have a lot in common with one another as well and a lot of positive conversation came out of those similarities. He did admit that there are often difficult issues that come up, particularly between the provinces and Ottawa.
“We have committed that we are going to work through difficult issues together, remembering what the people who tasked us with serving them as Premier and Prime Minister want us to focus on; growing the economy in a way that helps the middle class, protecting the environment for future generations and making sure that everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed. Difficult issues come up; we’re going to work through them to resolve them.”
During the talks, Trudeau pledged that he would be visiting wildfire areas in B.C. next week to assess the damage left in the wake of the wildfires.
His government has already donated millions to the relief effort and deployed members of the Canadian military to help wherever needed.