Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun speaks to news conference in Vancouver Thursday. (Facebook)

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun speaks to news conference in Vancouver Thursday. (Facebook)

Abbotsford Mayor says pipeline showdown threatens economy

Mayor calls for politicians to settle dispute and get project built

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said the province’s resistance to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is putting both Canada’s and B.C.’s economy at risk.

Braun urged federal and provincial leaders to find a solution to the current impasse at a press conference in Vancouver organized by business groups trying to mobilize support for the project.

Braun – the most prominent local politician at the event – joined the presidents of several business groups who said that Kinder Morgan’s decision to suspend non-essential spending on the project had triggered a wave of concern from business..

Introduced as the mayor of the municipality with the most land crossed by the pipeline, Braun said he felt the need to step up and voice his support for the project

“When I heard about this [event] yesterday, there comes a time that leadership has to stand up and say something at the local level and so that day, for me, is today,” Braun said.

His support isn’t new: he previously said the pipeline is in Canada’s national interest. But on Thursday, he went further, saying the province’s resistance to the project is imperiling the provincial and national economy.

“What is of key significance is the way the province is choosing to address this matter, which is placing the global reputation of our country as a safe and secure place to invest and do business at risk,” he said. “I understand that some may have questions with our regulatory processes and I respect that and there are ways to address that. However, the path we are currently on is not one of them, and … will create a crisis of confidence in our country’s ability to be seen as a trusted place to invest.”

He said he wanted to see a world less dependent on fossil fuels. But he said “we cannot turn this on like a light switch and go from one source of energy to others.”

– with files from Tom Fletcher