Canada

Ford government pleads with feds to save Line 5 pipeline

The vital pipeline delivers oil and gas to facilities in Ontario, Quebec, Michigan and Ohio

A sign marks where an Enbridge pipeline lands in St. Clair Township after crossing the St. Clair River, south of Sarnia, Ont., Feb. 19, 2021.

The Ford government in Ontario is keeping up the pressure to keep a vital pipeline open, not only reaching out to those who may want to close it but asking the Trudeau government to step up as well.

The Line 5 pipeline, which delivers oil and gas to facilities in Ontario, Quebec, Michigan and Ohio could be shut down over a political battle in Michigan.

Michigan’s Governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, has threatened to pull the permit that allows the pipeline to pass under the Straits of Mackinac. The waterway is the dividing point between Lakes Michigan and Huron but geographically sits fully inside the State of Michigan.

Despite operating with few issues since 1953, and supplying much of the Great Lakes region with oil and natural gas, Whitmer is pledging to shut it down. That has politicians in this country speaking up.

“Estimates are that we will see more than 5,000 jobs lost locally and another 23,500 lost by those whose work indirectly depends on Line 5,” Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said in a letter to his federal counterpart Filomena Tassi.

“These are vital working-class trade jobs. In many cases, these are the best-paying jobs in all of the skilled trades in the country, that let people provide for their families and support all of our communities.”

McNaughton, on behalf of the Ford government, is asking the federal government to step up the pressure with the Biden administration, to keep the pipeline open and save jobs.

  1. A sign marks where an Enbridge pipeline lands in St. Clair Township after crossing the St. Clair River, south of Sarnia, Ont., Feb. 19, 2021.

    OUELLETTE: Canada needs Enbridge's Line 5

  2. A sign marks where an Enbridge pipeline crosses the St. Clair River between Michigan and Ontario near Sarnia.

    EDITORIAL: Stop killing our pipelines, America

“We should unite around our concern for good jobs in Ontario and the Great Lakes Region that rely on a pipeline that has operated safely for over 65 years,” McNaughton wrote.

The Trudeau government had been resisting pressure to get involved in the issue despite calls from Erin O’Toole and the opposition Conservatives. Over the weekend, Trudeau gave an interview to NBC’s Meet the Press where he wrote off fighting for the Keystone XL pipeline saying he wouldn’t push back against the Biden administration’s opposition to that project.

In the interview, Trudeau only said he had “concerns” about the future of Line 5 but went no further.

On Monday, Sarnia city council passed a unanimous motion backing the pipeline, noting the demise of Line 5 would have a devastating impact on the local economy.

Some 3,000 jobs are tied to the energy sector in the city, the cancelling of Line 5 could have a ripple effect across the entire area.

blilley@postmedia.com

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