The House

Trudeau, Notley and Horgan meet to avoid a constitutional showdown

This week on The House, we explore the issues surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. Chris Hall also looks ahead to the unprecedented committee appearance of National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, Daniel Jean, to discuss Justin Trudeau's trip to India.
Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr speaks about the recent status of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in Ottawa on Sunday, April 8, 2018. (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press)

The federal government is prepared to consider assuming some of the financial risks as a solution to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion feud.

Kinder Morgan issued an ultimatum on Sunday, saying the company would cease all non-essential spending on the project until it gets more clarity from the provinces and the federal government.

The company cited the province's stalling tactics for the uncertainty that has shrouded the progress of the $7.4- billion expansion.

The company also gave a deadline of May 31, saying it couldn't see a way forward for the project if clarity isn't reached by then.  

"I think that we're prepared to look at all reasonable options," Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr told CBC Radio's The House on Friday.

"The government of Canada is saying, 'We'll look at de-risking the project so there's more certainty.'"

We explore the issues surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr. 9:25

An emergency cabinet meeting was held earlier this week, as ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have vowed for months that this project would be built — though no one has answered exactly how that would happen.

Providing a guarantee that Ottawa would cover for some potential losses could be one of the tactics on the table, according to Carr.

Earlier this week, the minister said that a federal investment in the Trans Mountain pipeline was one of the other possibilities.

Those two options aren't guaranteed actions, however, but are two tactics being considered along with other legal and regulatory manoeuvres.

Carr said investor confidence is key to Canada's economy, and channels need to remain open to U.S. and Asian markets.

"Delay means cost and cost means uncertainty."

We explore the issues surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion with B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver 7:28

What should Canada's response be to airstrikes in Syria?

Damascus sky lights up with service to air missile fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)

The best way for Canada to respond to airstrikes in Syria is to continue pushing for a resolution behind the scenes, according to a former government national security issues analyst.

"Canada needs to basically continue what it has been doing, to a large extent working behind the scenes, trying to push the different parties together, basically working to reassert the chemical weapons norms and of course stand with our allies," Stephanie Carvin, now a professor at Carleton University, told host Chris Hall.  

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Canada supports the decision by the U.S., the United Kingdom and France to bomb targets in Syria over the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons.

More than 40 people were killed and 500 injured — including women and children — after poison gas was apparently used in an attack on Douma, a rebel-held enclave near the Syrian capital of Damascus, on April 7.

The Syrian government has denied responsibility and Russia has suggested Israel or Britain was to blame, supposedly to justify increased Western intervention into the war-ravaged country.

"Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week's attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria," Trudeau said in a statement.

"Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime's ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people," the statement read.

Canada has always played an important role in resolving international conflicts like the current situation in Syria, Carvin said, but the government should also be prepared for retaliation from Russia.

"There could be a lot of nasty responses on this one."

While an identical response is highly unlikely, she said it would be wise to be on high alert for cyber attacks.

Carvin said missile strikes haven't worked as deterrents in the past, and other solutions will have to be examined.

"There's no good options in Syria," she said.

"Really what's going to have to happen is a comprehensive diplomatic solution."

Former national security issues analyst with the Government of Canada Stephanie Carvin discusses the latest airstrikes against Syria. 7:51

'Clarity' the hope for meeting with national security adviser

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau with Jaspal Atwal at an Indian film industry event in Mumbai in February during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's official visit to India. (Supplied by Jaspal Atwal)

Clarifying exactly what happened at an event during the prime minister's trip to India will be the goal of the national security adviser's appearance before a parliamentary committee on Monday.

Both government and opposition MPs told The House they will be looking for transparency.

Daniel Jean will appear before the Public Safety and National Security committee to explain what he knows about how Jaspal Atwal, a convicted attempted murderer, ended up at an official event during Justin Trudeau's controversial February trip to India.

While the trip was ongoing an unnamed security official, the Conservatives later identified as Jean, gave reporters a briefing suggesting elements within the Indian government had placed Atwal at the event in an effort to undermine diplomatic ties — even though Liberal MP Randeep Sarai took responsibility for the invitation.

In the two months since the visit, the Conservatives have been pushing for Jean to give them the same briefing the media received. The Liberals voted to block their initial motion.  

They've been asking for clarification and information for weeks, and now it seems some Liberals might have similar questions.

"I would think that some clarity would be helpful," John McKay, chair of the committee, told The House.

"All sides would prefer a redo on this, but there is no redo."

The truth has proved elusive, as several accounts of events have been floated since the trip. Jean is one of the few people in possession of multiple pieces of the puzzle — both classified and unclassified.

"Hopefully Mr. Jean will shine some light on which version is the truth," Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O'Toole told host Chris Hall.

"We think that Mr. Jean was forced out to the media by the Prime Minister's Office as a damage control measure. That should never be done to someone who's a national security adviser."

McKay said he anticipates some of the questions at committee will stray into classified territory, but he expects members to be respectful of the procedures.

Chris Hall looks ahead to the unprecedented committee appearance of National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, Daniel Jean, to discuss Justin Trudeau's trip to India. 9:47

In House: Breaking down Trans Mountain and Daniel Jean's committee appearance

What's going to happen at this weekend's pipeline meeting and why did Justin Trudeau feel the need to meet face to face with John Horgan and Rachel Notley? Our In House panel weighs in. (Philippe Turgeon/CBC)

This week, our In House panel joined host Chris Hall to break down the news on the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the upcoming appearance of the national security adviser before a parliamentary committee and look ahead to the Liberal convention in Halifax next weekend. 

Question: What's going to happen at this weekend's meeting and why did Justin Trudeau feel the need to meet face to face with John Horgan and Rachel Notley?

Susan Delacourt: "I think Justin Trudeau has to be seen to be on this. This has been an escalating situation since last weekend and the prime minister can't be seen to be hanging around in Peru or flitting around the country or the world when tempers have now risen to a fever kind of pitch."

Joël-Denis Bellavance: "It looks to me from the Ottawa bubble … that the prime minister has rolled the dice on this issue, because there has to be one result for the prime minister, which is British Columbia backing down on its opposition -- and it doesn't look like it's going to happen on Sunday."

Question: Daniel Jean, the national security adviser, is set to appear before a Parliamentary committee on Monday to discuss what he told reporters during the prime minister's trip to India. What's the calculation and the risk of having him testify?

Susan Delacourt: "I've been fascinated to see the evolution of opposition to this, you know it's gone from 'Mr. Jean will go nowhere near this to suddenly he's talking and coming out next week. I think the Conservatives are calculating there's still enough bubbling out there in the country about this India trip that this is a good angle for them."

Question: The Liberal policy convention is coming up next week, against the backdrop of these ongoing issues, so what are you going to be paying attention to?

Joël-Denis Bellavance: "I'll be looking at pipelines: The reactions of Liberals from Alberta versus the reaction of Liberals from British Columbia [and] whether the fight that we're seeing now between two provincial cousins will also spread to the Liberal family."

This week, our In House panel joined host Chris Hall to break down the news on the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the upcoming appearance of the national security adviser before a parliamentary committee and look ahead to the Liberal convention in Halifax next weekend. 7:12

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