rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Is Trudeau preparing to approve the Trans Mountain and Energy East pipelines?

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Photo: Province of British Columbia/flickr

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Will the Trudeau government back the TransCanada Energy East pipeline and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline?

National Post columnist John Ivison writes:

"Justin Trudeau has told his senior lieutenants to draw up plans to make the Energy East pipeline and the Trans Mountain expansion in British Columbia a reality. The prime minister has been convinced by his finance minister, Bill Morneau, and other influential voices around the cabinet table that the pipelines have to be built to achieve the ambitious economic growth targets his government has set."

There are reportedly strategies to win provincial government support in British Columbia and Quebec, as well as public support in general. Ivison argues that Trudeau could overcome British Columbia premier Christy Clark's opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline through various measures including negotiating more provincial revenue from the pipeline, and that he could get Quebec premier Philippe Couillard onside in exchange for a $1-billion federal investment in Bombardier.

Ivison adds, "The problem for the Liberals is that this conviction has to be conveyed subtly to a public that has decidedly mixed views on oilsands expansion and pipelines." He notes the strategy may be to argue that the increase in tar sands production for these two pipelines would be offset by importing less oil from overseas (though that would be a challenge given these are primarily export pipelines), as well as "by cooling the rhetoric, resetting the regulatory process and privately courting moderate opponents."

He highlights, "The prime minister has never been an advocate of a Canadian future without oil. He supported the Keystone XL pipeline, and explicitly stated that no country that found 170 billion barrels of oil would leave it in the ground." That is true.

In January 2014, Trudeau stated, "I am ... very interested in the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Trans Mountain pipeline that is making its way through. I certainly hope that we're going to be able to get that pipeline approved." And in December 2014, Trudeau commented, "The [Energy East] project has still not attained the level of support it needs to go forward. I hope [TransCanada] will develop a means to reassure and demonstrate that this can be done in a responsible fashion."

Earlier this year, in response to statements by Alberta premier Rachel Notley and Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne in supporting of getting oil to overseas markets, Trudeau commented: "I am very much in the camp of both premiers, Wynne and Notley, who demonstrated that Canada can and should work together on economic issues for all of us. ...I'm feeling very good about our capacity to get our resources to market in a responsible and environmentally sustainable way."

And just last month, Trudeau implied the wealth generated from pipelines could help fund the transition to a "low-carbon" economy. He said:

"We want the low-carbon economy that continues to provide good jobs and great opportunities for all Canadians. To get there, we need to make smart strategic investments in clean growth and new infrastructure, but we must also continue to generate wealth from our abundant natural resources to fund this transition to a low-carbon economy."

It is also notable that just days after being sworn in as the Foreign Affairs minister, Stephane Dion stated, "We support [the Energy East project] but we want that to be done properly and it will be difficult to do if we don't strengthen the process itself, the process of consultation with communities and the process of scientific environmental assessment." Dion, who chairs the powerful Environment, Climate Change and Energy cabinet committee, has also commented, "We believe in development but it must be sustainable, including for the oil sands. It's a challenge but we'll do it with the industry, with the province of Alberta, we'll do it altogether, we have no choice."

The Council of Canadians argues that it is fundamentally impossible to both expand tar sands production with new export pipelines and meet our commitment for global warming not to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. We support the Leap Manifesto which calls for "no new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future," "training and resources for workers in carbon-intensive jobs," and a 100 per cent clean economy by 2050.

It is expected that the federal cabinet could decide on the Trans Mountain pipeline this December, and that the Energy East pipeline decision could be made in mid-2018.

Photo: Province of British Columbia/flickr

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.