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National

Strained U.S.-Canada relationship backs arguments for pipeline, say Liberals

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OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are pointing to the unpredictable wrath of the American president to further buttress their argument that Canada needs the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to reduce its trade dependence on the United States.

The U.S. is currently the destination for 99 per cent of Canada’s oil exports — a fact the Liberals cite as evidence in favour of building Trans Mountain, which would allow Canadian bitumen to be shipped to Asia by sea.

That argument appears to be getting fresh momentum from U.S. President Donald Trump and his Twitter feed, both of which have been the source of pointed attacks on Canada that have cast a worrying pall over the state of one of the world’s oldest and most enduring trade relationships.

“Well, yeah,” Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr replied when asked if the situation underscores why Canada wants to build Trans Mountain so badly.

“I believe that Canadians believe that to have more than one customer for our main natural resource is good for Canada.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau inferred the link during question period Tuesday.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s plan to impose “a limit on oilsands development and a price on pollution” included a pipeline to get oil to markets other than the U.S., he said — “something we can all agree on is probably a good idea, this week.”

In a speech at the Global Petroleum Show in Calgary Tuesday, Notley said “it has never been more important for Canada to get a Canadian pipeline built to a Canadian coast for the benefit of all Canadians.”

“If the last days and weeks tell us anything, it’s that we, as Canadians, need to take control of our economic destiny,” Notley said.

Notley’s comments and her alignment with Trudeau widen the already yawning chasm between her and the federal NDP, which introduced a Commons motion Tuesday calling for Canada not to spend “billions of public dollars on increasingly obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure.”

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh disagreed with the notion that a full-fledged Canada-U.S. trade war bolsters the Trans Mountain argument. Canada’s economic future depends on investing in clean energy and technology that will create jobs and economic growth for decades, he said.

“Investing potentially upwards of $10, $15 billion of public resources to build one pipeline, one specific project, doesn’t seem to be a vision of what we should be doing with our public resources.”

While $15 billion invested in clean energy could make Canada a leader in the sector, spending that money on the fossil fuel industry is “short-sighted,” he added.

Last month, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government would buy Kinder Morgan’s existing Trans Mountain pipeline and its associated assets for $4.5 billion and build the expansion itself, selling it back to the private sector once it’s financially marketable.

Opposition to the pipeline and court challenges from the B.C. government made Kinder Morgan queasy about proceeding with its $7.4 billion investment in the expansion, all but abandoning it unless Ottawa could provide some measure of financial certainty.

— with files from Lauren Krugel in Calgary

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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Woman and her dog lost for 72 hours in B.C. woods are found safe

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INVERMERE, B.C. — A 52-year-old woman and her dog are both safe and unharmed after wandering lost for 72 hours in the thick woods in southeastern B.C.

RCMP Sgt. Chris Newel says Louise Baxter hopped off a rescue helicopter Wednesday, hugged her husband and was talking and laughing with her rescuers.

Baxter went out for a hike with friends in the Jumbo Pass area on Sunday, but she disappeared after taking her leashed dog out for what she said would be a short walk.

Newel says Baxter appears to have become disoriented shortly after leaving her friends and then heading down the mountain, moving “west when she probably should have been heading east.”

The dog, a golden poodle named Maverick, was with her the whole time and Newel says the animal is also in good health. 

At the height of the search, there were three helicopters, four search dogs, a drone and 35 search and rescue volunteers looking for the woman in the difficult, mountainous terrain.

Newel, who was the incident commander for the search, said Baxter saw the search helicopters and tried to flag them down, but no one saw her.

“But if anybody’s every been in a helicopter, trying spot a person in forested area is extremely difficult and a lot harder than you would think,” he said in an interview on Thursday. “I can’t imagine the emotion that would have gone through her seeing these helicopters and not be able to signal them in some sort of way.”

Baxter is an avid hiker, Newel said, adding the general rule of thumb for those who get lost in the woods is to stay put. Baxter did stay in one place for a while but proceeded down the mountain because she thought help wasn’t coming, he said.

“But she was working further and further out from the primary search area.”

He said she found water along the way and ate berries, but didn’t have anything else to eat.

“I couldn’t believe when she walked off that helicopter and practically ran to her husband,” Newel added.

 

The Canadian Press


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National

Greens won’t run candidate in Burnaby South as ‘leader’s courtesy’ to Singh: May

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VICTORIA — The Green party will not run a candidate against NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in the riding of Burnaby South.

Green Leader Elizabeth May says the decision is an extension of a “leader’s courtesy,” a long-standing Canadian parliamentary tradition that facilitates a newly elected party leader’s entry to the House of Commons in an unopposed byelection.

She says in a statement the Greens believe it is right to step aside to allow the leader of “an important part of the political spectrum” to serve in Parliament.

Singh announced his candidacy for the federal riding after New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart indicated he was stepping aside to run for mayor of Vancouver.

The Liberal and Conservative parties have not announced candidates in the riding, but the Liberals have said they will contest the byelection.

May received the leader’s courtesy in 2008 when then-Liberal leader Stephane Dion chose not to run a candidate against her in Central Nova. She extended the same gesture to Dion.

In 2002, the Liberals and Conservatives stepped aside for Stephen Harper when he ran in a byelection held shortly after he became leader of the Canadian Alliance.

No date has been set for a byelection.

Singh sat in Ontario’s legislature and served as the provincial NDP’s deputy leader before he replaced Tom Mulcair as the federal leader.

The Canadian Press


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