Ex-Liberal ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott differ with Trudeau over Trans Mountain pipeline

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      Last week, a former Liberal environment minister, David Anderson, wrote a letter to six Trudeau cabinet ministers saying there's no economic basis for the $9.3-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

      This week, another former Liberal cabinet minister, Jane Philpott, has also expressed her opposition—shortly after the Trudeau cabinet approved the project on June 18.

      The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will triple shipments of diluted bitumen from Alberta to Metro Vancouver.

      In addition, it will sharply increase tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet, and produce more annual downstream greenhouse gas emissions than those emitted each year across British Columbia.

      "In the face of a climate emergency, courage is not spending public funds on oil & gas expansion," Philpott tweeted. "It is calling for evidence-based national incentives for solar plants, rooftop solar, wind and wave energy generators, geothermal solutions and hydroelectric power."

      Trudeau has promised that any proceeds from the pipeline will be put into a Green Low Carbon Transition Fund.

      A day before the announcement, another former Liberal cabinet minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, wrote on her website that it would be better to "not proceed with TMX at this time".

      "Apart from what may or may not happen if TMX is approved, for me, and others, it is still an open question whether there is a compelling economic case for the expansion project," the MP for Vancouver Granville wrote. "At the end of the day the economic viability of the project is ultimately tied to the question of how long the transition from fossil fuels to other energy sources will take place globally and until then, where countries will source their oil."

      She emphasized that she's not opposed to all pipelines. But she feels there's a "lack of trust" over this project that can be traced to several factors, including:

      * "lack of meeting the standards the government committed to enshrine in legislation and policy regarding Indigenous rights";

      * "a continued lack of confidence in the regulatory process";

      * "how long it has taken the government to move this forward, while also not pursuing the exploration of alternative pipelines";

      * leaders of all stripes, at many points, have seemed incapable of sitting down, collaborating, and sorting this issue out";

      * "poor communication and insufficient information sharing on the part of the government, matched with misinformation and hyperbole by those in opposition".

      On April 2, Trudeau expelled Wilson-Raybould and Philpott from the Liberal caucus, claiming that the "trust that previously existed between these two individuals and our team has been broken, whether it's taping conversations without consent, or repeatedly expressing a lack of confidence in our government or me personally as leader".

      The two former cabinet ministers have decided to seek reelection in their respective ridings as independents.