Justin Trudeau favours Kinder Morgan expansion approval (if it's 'done right')

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said he would like to see the approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline proposal, provided it is done in the "right way that is sustainable, that has community support and buy-in, and that fits into a long-term strategy of not just a sustainable environment but a sustainable economy."

The proposal would expand the existing line to bring 890,000 barrels of oil from Alberta to Burnaby. The expansion would also result in a six-fold increase in oil tankers to the Burnaby terminal from the current five up to 30 a month.

In an interview with Metro Calgary, Trudeau said that while he doesn't agree with the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal, he would be interested in the controversial proposal to twin the 60-year-old Trans Mountain pipeline, provided that it obtains community permission:

“So, my intent is to make sure we send Enbridge back to the drawing board for that. I am, however, very interested in the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Trans Mountain pipeline that is making its way through," he said.  

"I certainly hope that we’re going to be able to get that pipeline approved. And I hope that Kinder Morgan learns from Enbridge’s experience of short-cutting or going too light on community buy-in. Ultimately governments grant permits, but only communities grant permission.”

Trudeau's comment, as well as his vocal support for the TransCanada Keystone XL proposal, has led critics to say his positions on oil pipelines are hardly different from those of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. 

Trudeau said in a speech at last year's Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference that he supports developing more Canadian oil to increase jobs and build Canada's "middle class". Trudeau also criticized Harper for not working hard enough to convince the U.S. President about Canada's environmental regulations to facilitate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. 

He told a business crowd at the Calgary Petroleum Club last fall to “keep an open mind: you can find friends in the most unexpected places.”

The Liberal leader's office later contacted the Vancouver Observer saying Trudeau does not -- in fact -- "unconditionally" support Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion. When asked to clarify his position, the office said Trudeau is just 'interested' in seeing Trans Mountain approved if conditions including environmental standards and "buy-in" from First Nations are met. 

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