Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Provinces not powerless against Ottawa

Re: “Federal, provincial battle over pipeline looms,” May 31. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau states that the federal government has approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and that it will go ahead.

Re: “Federal, provincial battle over pipeline looms,” May 31.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau states that the federal government has approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and that it will go ahead. He would do well to remember that his father, prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, took a similar stance in 1972 in regard to the proposed Pickering airport north of Toronto — and lost.

The proposed airport would have meant expropriating 7,530 hectares and dispossessing 2,000 residents of their homes. Resistance grew and spread widely.

Finally, premier Bill Davis, who had originally supported the plan, saw the writing on the wall, and in 1975, declared that the airport was no longer wanted. The province of Ontario would exercise its powers and would not provide the necessary roads, water mains or sewage system for the project.

Pierre Trudeau cancelled the planned airport a few days later. In apparent revenge, the federal government did not return the expropriated land or homes.

The British Columbia government, like the Ontario government in the 1970s, is not powerless.

We shall see if the present prime minister has learned anything from his father’s mistakes, or if, indeed, the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Ian MacDonell

Victoria