Canada in Brief, Jan. 12-18

January 11, 2017 Updated: January 11, 2017

PM’s cross-country tour not about padding Liberal database of supporters: PMO

OTTAWA—Justin Trudeau’s cross-country tour to re-engage with average Canadians started Jan. 12 amid suspicions that it’s really aimed at helping the Liberal party add details about potential supporters and donors to its massive database.

While the government is organizing the tour, Liberal MPs in several of the cities Trudeau plans to visit this week have posted online invitations for anyone wanting to attend townhalls with the prime minister.

Those who want to attend must RSVP online, providing their names, email addresses, postal codes, and phone numbers—all designated as “mandatory” fields.

However, the Prime Minister’s Office says the MPs are using their parliamentary websites in accordance with House of Commons rules. And it says none of the information collected on the sites is shared with the Liberal party.

BC grants Trans Mountain pipeline environmental approval

VICTORIA—British Columbia has granted environmental approval to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The federal government gave its approval for Kinder Morgan Canada’s $6.8 billion expansion of the pipeline late last year after the National Energy Board recommended it go ahead if 157 conditions are met.

B.C.’s approval comes with 37 conditions on top of the NEB’s requirements, including the consultation of aboriginal groups, the development of a species-at-risk plan, and that a plan is established to mitigate and monitor the impact of the project on grizzly bears.

The expansion would triple the capacity of the existing pipeline, which runs from near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., and increase tanker traffic sevenfold.

Listen to First Nations concerns about resource development: Jane Fonda

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta.—Actor and longtime environmental activist Jane Fonda says Canada should listen to aboriginal people when they express concerns about resource development.

Fonda was in the oilsands hub of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta on Jan. 10 to meet with local First Nations. She said she backs their opposition to new pipeline development from the oilsands.

Fonda said she sympathizes with workers who are concerned about losing their jobs and supports the desire of some First Nations for greater prosperity.

But she said renewable energy developments offer much greater economic spinoffs than what she called a fossil fuel industry on its way out.

Whitehorse mayor’s lesson in turban tying, Bhangra dancing goes viral

WHITEHORSE—A video of Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis learning to wear a Sikh turban and dance Bhangra has gone viral.

A seven-minute video posted online Jan. 6 starring Curtis has already garnered more than a million views.

In it, resident Gurdeep Pandher instructs the mayor in the art of folding a turban before the pair show off Indian dance moves on the floor of city hall.

Afterward, Curtis thanks Pandher for his lessons and asks him to declare Whitehorse a “diverse, wonderful, and beautiful community.”

Pandher was born in a Punjabi village in India and moved to Canada in 2006. He became a Canadian citizen five years later.

NEB seeks public input on expanded pipeline emergency plan disclosure rules

CALGARY—The National Energy Board says it will require companies making pipeline applications to provide more detail on their emergency response plans.

The federal regulator says the rule changes are being made in response to frequent demands from participants at its recent public hearings.

It launched a 60-day online public comment period Jan. 11 to gather input to be used in the final draft of its ruling.

The new rules are expected to require more information at the application stage covering emergency management, project-specific emergency preparedness, and online presentation of emergency procedures manuals.

The new regulations are expected to be in place by early summer.

With files from The Canadian Press