In video, Trudeau hits beach with head of Ocean Networks

As the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion continued to be debated Thursday, the prime minister shared a video shot in Colwood last week.

“I wouldn’t approve major pipeline projects if I wasn’t confident they could be done safely,” Justin Trudeau wrote on his Twitter account.

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“And they can be done safely because we’ve made a massive investment in protecting our oceans and coastlines — in B.C. and across the country.”

The video was released amid news that the prime minister will meet Sunday in Ottawa with the premier of B.C., who opposes the pipeline expansion, and the premier of Alberta, who supports it.

An opening scene shows Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site in Colwood, adjacent to Fisgard Lighthouse.

Trudeau is on the beach with Kate Moran, president and CEO of the University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada observatory. She is asked how the Oceans Protection Plan, which received a $1.5-billion investment — protects Canada.

“We live in a place here where there is already a tremendous amount of traffic and I felt like it had been ignored,” Moran says in the video. “It is really a long-term investment.”

Moran said Thursday that she received a day’s notice about the video and the prime minister’s visit, which occurred April 5.

Her role in the video could appear as an endorsement of the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but Moran said she doesn’t get involved in politics.

“I do mind people making a judgment, putting things together that I haven’t, but I can’t help that,” Moran said.

“I didn’t talk with the prime minister about the pipeline at all,” she said. “He was talking about the Oceans Protection Plan, which is what we’re excited about.

“We do science and provide data for information purposes and the investment that this government has made in the Oceans Protections Plan is really terrific,” she said. “I was just sharing with him what I saw as a really good direction, it’s a long-term investment that’s needed no matter what happens in terms of political decisions.”

In the video, Trudeau also talks to Capt. Rob Stewart, president of B.C. Coast Pilots, about the program. Bullet points outline aspects of the plan — enhanced 24-7 emergency coast guard response, six new radar sites, doubled tugboat capacity on tankers, enhanced towing capacity on coast guard ships.

Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called it bizarre that the prime minister would interrupt an international trip this weekend to sit down with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in an attempt to find a solution to the dispute. He is in Peru for a Summit of the Americas meeting, will return to Ottawa for the Sunday meeting, then travel to France and the United Kingdom.

Kinder Morgan announced last week it was stopping non-essential spending on the $7.4-billion pipeline expansion because of opposition and delays in B.C. and established a May 31 deadline for action.

“This is an unprecedented degree of foreign-corporation-induced mass political hysteria in Canada — I’ve never seen anything like it,” said May, who was arrested in Burnaby while protesting the project.

Until there is clarity on the cases before the Federal Court of Appeal concerning permits, she said, the political battles are moot.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

— With a file from The Canadian Press

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