A Greenpeace employee climbs a flagpole in front of the B.C. legislature the morning after a deal is reached between the NDP and B.C. Green Party to form a minority government. One reader writes that public sentiment can force change when it comes to major federally supported projects such as the Trans Mountain pipeline. Tom Fletcher/Black Press

History has a lesson for Trudeau, Notley on pipeline issue

Victoria reader says Horgan, B.C. government not powerless to reject Trans Mountain project

Re: Urban environmentalists have occupied NDP (B.C. Views, July 12)

Tom Fletcher writes in regard to the Trans Mountain pipeline that Alberta Premier Rachel Notley “has joined Trudeau in reminding Horgan that he has no constitutional right to blockade a federally regulated resource project.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would do well to remember that his father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, took a similar stance in 1972 regarding the proposed Pickering airport north of Toronto, and lost.

That airport would have meant expropriating 7,530 hectares of land and dispossessing 2,000 residents of their homes. Resistance grew and spread rapidly. Finally, Ontario then-premier Bill Davis, who originally supported the plan, saw the writing on the wall and in 1975 declared 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 an act of apparent revenge, the federal Liberal government did not return the expropriated land or homes to the owners.

The British Columbia government, like the Ontario government in the 1970’s, 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