Trudeau in 'financial' talks to resolve heated pipeline dispute

Prime Minister, premiers meet over controversial Trans Mountain pipeline

Trudeau government to privately discuss money for Kinder Morgan in Houston, New York, Toronto and Calgary

In an interview with French business daily Les Echos ahead of a visit to Paris, Trudeau acknowledged that environmentalists were "concerned" by the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Horgan emerged from the meeting Sunday showing no intention of letting off on his opposition to the pipeline. This is a bid to try and take the wind out the sails of Horgan's court challenge.

The Liberals seem convinced only a small number of their 18 B.C. seats are at risk over approving a pipeline, but on Saturday, Quebec's minister for Canadian relations warned Trudeau it would be a mistake for Ottawa to ram through the project with no regard for provincial rules. He said whatever financial arrangement is reached will include protections for taxpayers. Kinder Morgan Canada has said it was open to discussions but did not elaborate. "This is a series of discussions that are happening in Calgary, Toronto, Houston and NY. As soon as we have something to announce I promise you we will let you know".

Sunday marked Ottawa's starkest opposition yet to B.C. Premier John Horgan, whose government has vehemently opposed the pipeline at every turn, drawing ire from Alberta and the federal government. We are demonstrating not just that we are exerting and understanding the responsibilities that come with the federal government, but demonstrating as well what we have long held - and what Canadians understand: "that the environment and the economy must go together". Construction on the pipeline expansion itself has yet to begin and needs to start by the end of May if the company's plan to get the oil flowing through it by the end of 2020 is to work. The company set a firm deadline of May 31 to have that request fulfilled.

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"The federal government, along with the government of Alberta, has commenced discussions with Kinder Morgan to establish a financial relationship that will eliminate investor risk", Notley told reporters, but gave no details.

"This Prime Minister could not be less serious about this vital issue", said Leader of the United Conservative Party Jason Kenney.

"It has gone through the hoops and, quite frankly, if co-operative federalism means we never, ever, ever make a decision, well I don't think that's a co-operative federalism that Canadians think is in their best interests", she said.

"His damaging policies ... have only led to more uncertainty and instability in Canada's resource sector", Scheer said.

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Trudeau's cabinet approved the pipeline in 2016, following an interim environmental review process that included assessing things such as the emissions that will be created from producing additional fossil fuels that will flow through it. "It is a project in the national interest", Trudeau said.

The sit-down, the first face-to-face between the two leaders since November, comes at a critical time, with Canada, Mexico and the USA all looking for a breakthrough in the ongoing effort to update the North American Free Trade Agreement - and Trump's wild-card trade strategies doing little to clear the air.

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