Feds won’t rule out dispatching soldiers to keep the peace during pipeline protests

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      A B.C. MP has dared Liberal ministers to guarantee that the military and police will not be used against opponents of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline-expansion project.

      Burnaby South MP Kennedy Stewart issued the challenge as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged that the $7.4-billion twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline will be completed.

      Stewart first hurled the question at Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr during debates in the House of Commons last Monday (February 12).

      “Will he stand in the House today and say that he will never do this, that it would never be considered, that he would not use the army and the police forces against British Columbians in their own communities, on the reserves, and in their municipalities?” Stewart asked.

      Stewart prefaced his question by noting that Carr told business leaders in the past that “he would use military defence and police forces to push this pipeline through.”

      The Burnaby South MP was referring to a December 1, 2016, comment by Carr in Edmonton about the military and police dealing with nonpeaceful protests, for which he later apologized.

      Responding to Stewart, the Liberal minister said he was “disappointed” that the issue was being brought up again.

      “Within a few days of having said it, I realized it would invoke images that were not healthy to the debate, and I apologized to Indigenous leaders,” Carr said. “I will say again, as I have said many times over many months, that I apologized and misspoke.”

      At another point during the debates, Stewart made the same challenge to Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi.

      “Will he guarantee British Columbians that he will not use the military or police forces to ram this pipeline through our beautiful province?” Stewart asked.

      Sohi replied that the pipeline expansion will “go ahead, because this project will create thousands of jobs for Alberta families as well as for British Columbian and Canadian families”.

      Stewart was not satisfied with the responses he got from Carr and Sohi, which he later described as “disturbing”.

      The expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, will triple daily capacity to 890,000 barrels and lead to a sevenfold increase in tanker traffic on the West Coast.