The House

Midweek podcast: B.C.'s Liberal MPs face a political pipeline pickle

The apparent accord between the Greens and the NDP in B.C. could spell trouble for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain project, and that would have ripple effect in Alberta and Ottawa. On The House midweek podcast, we get reaction from Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, and Vancouver North Liberal MP Jonathan Wilkinson.
B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan and B.C. Green party Leader Andrew Weaver sign an agreement in Victoria aimed at creating a stable minority government on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

It's not just British Columbia's provincial Liberals who may be wary of the new pact between John Horgan's NDP and Andrew Weaver's Green Party.

Those wearing red at the federal level will also be watching how this week's surprise alliance will impact the already contentious Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

"There are probably already some members of parliament who are looking quite glumly down that road and are looking at the days ticking down on the calendar," said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute.

"They know there will be probably be a price to pay no matter what happens. I'm thinking of MPs in Burnaby like Terry Beech or Joyce Murray in Vancouver Quadra."

Shachi Kurl, is the executive director of the Angus Reid Institute and a keen watcher of B.C. politics. (

Both the B.C. NDP and the Greens have promised to do everything they can to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project from breaking ground.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already approved the project and reiterated that earlier this week. 

"It presents a colossal headache to him because he has burned a significant amount of political capital in and around Metro Vancouver with younger voters, with Green-leaning voters that came over to him in the last election [after he said] 'I'm going to back this pipeline, I'm going to endorse, I'm going to support it, and I'm going to support Premier Clark in her pursuit of it.' Now you have a situation where obviously the circumstances have changed," said Kurl, who is based in Vancouver.

When the 2019 federal election rolls in the provincial NDP and Green's will be about two years into their pilot project of an alliance, the pollster points out.

'The best interest of the country'

"Will NDP MPs suffer or be rewarded for how people are feeling about what's happening provincially here in the province?" Kurl asked.

B.C. Liberal MP Jonathan Wilkinson said he still believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has the social contract to go ahead with the Kinder Morgan pipeline. (CBC News)

But Vancouver North MP Jonathan Wilkinson,who also works as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of the environment and climate change, said pipeline projects aren't a black and white, British Columbia versus Alberta issue. 

"There are certainly people who have different opinions, and there are certainly people who are very unhappy about the decision the federal government made, but I would tell you the majority of folks in my riding are supportive of the thoughtful way the government approached this decision and made this decision," he said.

"British Columbians are Canadians. Albertans are Canadians. Ontarians​ are Canadians. And ultimately many people understand that this is a national undertaking that is in the best interest of the country."