OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he now opposes expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline — but he insists it has nothing to do with the fact a House of Commons seat is opening up in a riding where supporting the pipeline could hurt his chances.
With two NDP premiers at odds over the project, Singh has tried to remain neutral, assailing Ottawa's review process and the federal government's reasoning in approving the expansion.
Today, however, Singh says Finance Minister Bill Morneau's promise to cover any construction cost overruns caused by political interference has pushed him to oppose the whole endeavour.
His relationship with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley appears strained, however — Singh says he has not spoken with her since she declared him "irrelevant" and "dead wrong" about the pipeline.
Singh says he has not yet decided whether to seek the Commons seat for Burnaby South, to be vacated later this summer by NDP MP Kennedy Stewart.
Burnaby, near Vancouver, is home to Kinder Morgan's marine terminal for the pipeline and a hotbed of anti-pipeline sentiment, but Singh says the byelection did not influence his decision to oppose Trans Mountain.