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Trudeau gov't silent on Biden threats to halt Keystone Pipeline as opposition pushes for action

Last Updated Jan 18, 2021 at 10:34 am PDT

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta

Opposition parties are calling on the prime minister to take a stand amid plans to stop the Keystone XL pipeline

Both the Greens and New Democrats are praising President-elect Joe Biden for his climate leadership

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is joining the Alberta and Saskatchewan premiers who are pushing the PM to stop Biden

OTTAWA – The Trudeau government has still not officially reacted to news that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is planning on putting a stop to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline between the two countries, but the opposition is weighing in, saying this will be a critical choice for the prime minister.

Opposition parties on different sides of the issue want Justin Trudeau to make a stand.

Both the Greens and New Democrats are praising Biden for his climate leadership, saying this is an opportunity for Trudeau to finally lead on the environment and work with the new administration on climate strategy.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul says the prime minister should welcome this move. She notes if he defends the project, Trudeau is abandoning climate leadership.

“It says that this government is not serious about tackling the climate emergency,” she says.

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The NDP adds the federal government is failing energy workers by not transitioning them to the green economy.

“We have a responsibility to workers here in Canada. Workers who have gone through bust and boom times, that we make investments that create long-term jobs for them,” New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh says. “The jobs of the future are jobs that help us fight the climate crisis and that’s where we need to make investments. Justin Trudeau has failed on this.”

Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. is defending the pipeline, saying it fits into Canada’s climate plan and promises good jobs.

Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is joining the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan who are pushing for the prime minister to stop Biden, arguing this is a project of national significance and that cancelling it will be disastrous for both the Canadian and U.S. economies.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his government — which announced a $1.5 billion investment into the expansion last year — is prepared to “use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project.”

TC Energy Corp. confirmed on Sunday an ambitious plan to spend $1.7 billion US on a solar, wind, and battery-powered operating system for the pipeline to ensure it is zero-emission by 2030, and to rely exclusively on union labour.