Ontario Premier Doug Ford says a new trade deal signed with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer didn’t involve any discussions on Enbridge Inc.'s Line 5 pipeline.
The premier was asked by reporters if he spoke to Ms. Whitmer about Line 5 in the lead-up to signing the MOU, and whether he has any contingency plan should the governor be successful in getting the pipeline shut down.
Enbridge’s Line 5 carries 540,000 barrels of oil and natural gas liquids daily across Wisconsin and Michigan to refineries in Sarnia, Ont. The energy company is headquartered in Calgary, Alta.
Mr. Ford said he has brought up the issue with Ms. Whitmer before and that she knew his stance on the pipeline.
“We have talked in the past and again she knows how I feel. It’s absolutely critical for Ontario and actually the U.S.,” he said.
Defenders of the pipeline—including the Canadian government—have said a shutdown would cause major economic disruptions across the Prairies and the U.S. Midwest, where it feeds refineries in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
‘A Friend’In June, Enbridge Inc. was ordered by a Wisconsin district court judge to pay an indigenous band in the state US$5.1 million and to remove the aforesaid pipeline from its property within three years. The judge, William Conley, ruled that a rupture of Line 5 on territory that belongs to the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa would constitute a public nuisance under U.S. federal law.
Enbridge has described the band's argument as "alarmist" and "counterfactual speculation."
Mr. Ford said despite the challenges related to Line 5, he still considers Ms. Whitmer “a friend, a great partner on many different areas as well.”
“They’re our number one trading partner and we’re their number one trading partner back and forth,” the premier said. “I always look at working with all governors on things that we can agree on.”