B.C. business leaders announce campaign in support of Trans Mountain pipeline

Representatives of eight B.C. business associations say they're concerned that Canada's reputation as a safe place to invest is at risk.

Groups argue that Canada's reputation as a safe place to invest is at risk

Hundreds gathered in Calgary earlier this week in support of the Trans Mountain pipeline project. (Mark Matulis/CBC)

Representatives of industry associations met in Vancouver on Thursday morning to announce plans for a campaign supporting the completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The assembled business leaders said they believe that Canada's reputation as a safe place to invest is at risk if Kinder Morgan's plans for the pipeline aren't allowed to proceed.

"We're at a point of crisis of confidence in Canada, a crisis that needs leadership and immediate attention to resolve," Greg D'Avignon, president and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia, told reporters.

The group have written a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, urging them to take action to make sure the pipeline expansion is completed.

Trudeau has interrupted a nine-day foreign trip to return to Ottawa to meet with the two premiers in an attempt to end the deadlock.

Kinder Morgan suspended all non-essential spending on the project Sunday, a decision the company said was largely based on the B.C. government's legal challenges to the pipeline and the need to protect its shareholders.

'Mayhem and mischief'

Laura Jones, the executive vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, accused the B.C. government of "creating mayhem and mischief with respect to a project that has already been approved."

She said the federal government should use "every tool in its toolbox" to make sure the project goes through.

The speakers Thursday also included one Lower Mainland politician. Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun told reporters that he wants his grandchildren to grow up in a world less dependent on fossil fuels, but he also hopes their lives will be supported by a strong economy.

"There comes a time when leadership has to stand up and say something at the local level, and that day for me is today," Braun said.

Meanwhile, Dennis Connor of B.C. Clean Technology Industry Voices argued that protests against the pipeline are actually imperilling future action on climate change in Canada.

"If the protesters, abetted by the province, stop the pipeline, we believe the climate accord will go away," Connor said.

He said that while he strongly supports moving away from oil and gas as energy sources, it will take decades to complete the switch to renewable energy sources.

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