The federal government’s current position on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will encourage companies to “ignore provincial environmental regulations” set up to protect the public, according to an open letter published in La Presse Saturday by Jean-Marc Fournier, Quebec’s minister responsible for Canadian relations.
“The recent statements made by federal representatives regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline, evoking the explicit application of federal rules, don’t help resolve this file, and they are concerning for the future,” Fournier wrote. “The federal government should instead collaborate with the affected provincial governments and agree on a joint assessment process that ensures respect for each province’s jurisdiction, as well as the democratic choices made by all Canadians.”
National Observer describes Fournier as “a veteran politician who has previously worked as a high-ranking political advisor to the federal Liberals”.
On Thursday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard tweeted that federal efforts to push the pipeline through in spite of British Columbia’s opposition are “not a good sign for federalism.” Instead, he said federal and provincial governments should work together through measures like the new federal Impact Assessment Act.
“We have to have [governments] collaborate as we evaluate these projects, that’s how we’ll have the most success,” Couillard said. “The essence of federalism since 1867 has been collaboration, and it has to stay that way.”