Canada won’t appeal pipeline ruling, relaunches consultation

Canada won’t appeal a court decision that quashed the federally owned Trans Mountain pipeline project, but will relaunch consultations in a bid to get it built.

The government will re-initiate consultations with all 117 indigenous groups impacted by the project, and discuss “how to get this process right this time,” Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said Wednesday in Ottawa.

Sohi signaled the government was still moving forward to try and build the project, though he insisted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet will only make its decision after the new process is done, and won’t put a timeline on consultations.

“Let me be clear, we are not starting over — we are building on the relationships we have, the information gathered and the consultation done to-date,” Sohi told reporters. “We are committed to doing things differently.”

The government has already directed its energy regulator to re-examine the marine impacts of the project. Sohi said Canada is appointing former Supreme Court of Canada judge Frank Iacobucci as a representative to oversee the consultation process.

The minister was asked during the press conference on how he can hold consultations when it looks like the government has already decided to build the pipeline expansion, which it bought from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. earlier this year for C$4.5 billion ($3.5 billion). He said the government wouldn’t cap the length of indigenous consultation, and approach it with an “open mind and good faith.”

(By Greg Quinn and Josh Wingrove)