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As the dusts settles in Canada's elections, Trans Mountain Pipeline controversy rages on

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to a rally of Liberal Party supporters in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday.
Craig McCulloch
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to a rally of Liberal Party supporters in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion remains a hot-button issue as the results roll in from the Canadian election. Newly re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may need the help of one opposition party to maintain power, but not when it comes to the controversial proposal.

The most likely support for Trudeau’s minority government is the ideologically similar New Democratic Party, or NDP. The party’s platform is socially progressive and pro-environment.

The NDP is staunchly opposed to the pipeline and Trudeau’s vocal support of its expansion.

Kathryn Harrison, a political science professor at the the University of British Columbia, says in the next parliament, Trudeau’s Liberal Party may find support from the arch-rival Conservatives.

“At this point, it's not clear that the Liberals need to bring forward legislation,” Harrison said. “And if they did, I think they'd be able to count on the Conservatives to support legislation to bring the pipeline forward if needed.”

Harrison expects there will be more civil disobedience and legal action against the pipeline expansion, if and when further construction happens in British Columbia.

Speaking to supporters at the NDP's election night headquarters in suburban Vancouver on Monday night, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was non-committal about any formal alliances with Trudeau. 

“And if the other parties work with us, we have an incredible opportunity to make the lives of all Canadians so much better,” said Singh, the first Sikh to lead a national party.

If any formal coalition is to be formed, it will happen in the next few days.

Trudeau’s government bought the existing pipeline in 2018 from Texas-based Kinder Morgan.

In other races, two candidates for the Green Party, including leader Elizabeth May, were elected on Vancouver Island and one from Canada’s Atlantic coast.

Ironically, the Conservative Party did win the popular vote, but only elected the second most number of members. The Bloq Quebecois, which wants the mostly French speaking province of Quebec to separate from Canada, got the third most elected members.

The average lifespan for minority governments in Canada is about 18 months.