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Trudeau accuses opponents of stoking regional divisions after pipeline cancelled

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to press at the Gateway Conference, in Toronto on Monday, September 25, 2017.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
October 07, 2017 - 2:30 PM

OTTAWA - The prime minister is accusing opponents of "stoking national divisions" through their reactions to TransCanada's decision to cancel its Energy East Pipeline project.

A Facebook post from Justin Trudeau slammed critics who blamed the project's cancellation on government regulation.

The pipeline would have carried western crude from the Alberta oilsands to the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, as well as an export terminal, but TransCanada cancelled it Thursday, citing changed circumstances.

The premiers of Alberta and New Brunswick have expressed disappointment, while Quebec politicians, along with Indigenous and environmental groups, welcomed the project's demise.

The Conservatives said TransCanada's decision to cancel the project is the result of what they call ''disastrous'' Liberal energy policy.

Trudeau says Canadians deserve better than a discussion in which leaders "leap to capitalize on perceived regional slights."

"We don't get far — we never have gotten far — by pitting one region against another, or one group against another. We succeed when we work together, as Canadians. And that absolutely requires a give and take," Trudeau says in the post.

The prime minister slammed the strategy of division as "intellectually dishonest" and "a political dead end."

He said in the post that the Conservative party, which he noted was formerly the Reform Party, used that tactic in its infancy.

"It was a road better left abandoned," Trudeau said.

In a letter to the National Energy Board, Trans-Canada said it was halting the project because of the board's decision to widen the scope of its assessment of the project.

Trudeau noted Saturday that his government has approved two major oil export pipelines that are under now under construction, and that a third is expected to move forward soon.

He ended the post with a warning that festering regional tensions bound the country in "paralyzing unity debates" from the 1970s through the 1990s.

"Let's not go backwards, simply because speaking from anger is an easy response to disappointing news," Trudeau said.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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