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article imageTrans Mountain expansion could depend on Monday's election

By Karen Graham     Oct 20, 2019 in Politics
Political risks to Canada's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion have grown as tight polls ahead of Monday's federal election increase the odds of a minority government, even though both leading candidates support the project.
Canada's federal election will be held on Monday, October 21, and there is more riding on the outcome than many people realize. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party is neck and neck in opinion polls with the opposition Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer.
Trudeau and Scheer, whose own lackluster campaign has cost his Conservatives, are now neck-and-neck, each with 31-32 percent support.
While both Trudeau and Scheer support the completion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion that would create a “national energy corridor” to transport oil and gas, there are still concerns that center around the vote resulting in the creation of a minority government, according to CBC Canada.
Canada's Prime Minister and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (L) and Conservative leader Andrew Sc...
Canada's Prime Minister and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (L) and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer take part in an election debate on October 10, 2019
Adrian Wyld, POOL/AFP
Should Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party wins the most votes but not enough for a majority government, he would need New Democratic or Green party support to stay in power. Both of these parties do not support the Trans Mountain extension. It is doubtful that Trudeau would agree to concessions that would delay the pipeline any further in order to form a government with the NDP or Green Party, according to S&P Global.
"There are some concerned that a Liberal minority which forms a coalition with a less industry-friendly party could lead to challenges on the Trans Mountain expansion's ability to proceed," said Matt Murphy, an analyst with Tudor, Pickering, Holt.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who is virtually tied with Trudeau, has fewer options for building a coalition government should he get the most votes but not a majority. And it could take weeks to figure out whether the election results will change the fate of the pipeline or Canada's climate change policies.
Former US president Barack Obama (R) has endorsed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) for ano...
Former US president Barack Obama (R) has endorsed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) for another term -- the pair are seen in Ottawa in June 2016
Chris Roussakis, AFP/File
Sheer has promised to scrap Trudeau's climate policies and wants to create an energy corridor by accelerating the permitting of pipelines and cutting back on oilpatch regulations that he feels are stifling productivity.
There is an answer to the pipeline debate and one that would be equitable for everyone. The industry and government will have to work together at reducing pollution, says Ed Whittingham, a Calgary-based environmentalist and former head of the Pembina Institute think-tank.
"While Albertans and Alberta companies are doing their best to drive down the environmental intensity, it's still a challenging way of producing energy," Whittingham said in a phone interview. "It's high-cost and high-carbon at a time when the world is going toward low-cost and low-carbon sources of oil. And that's an inescapable fact."
By tomorrow night, we will know - maybe - what kind of future awaits the Trans Mountain expansion and future oil sands production.
More about Canada Election, Minority government, Trans Mountain expansion, Oilsands, oil and gas slump
 
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