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Energy, economy, land rights face Trudeau as House of Commons returns

Last Updated Feb 18, 2020 at 12:12 pm EDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Jan. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returns to a House of Commons eager to debate his government’s policies on the economy, energy, climate change and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples after a week away.

The NDP is asking Commons Speaker Anthony Rota for an emergency debate on anti-pipeline blockades that have shut down swaths of the country’s train system and interrupted traffic on highways and bridges for more than a week.

The blockades are in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline that crosses the First Nation’s traditional territory in northern British Columbia.

Trudeau’s cabinet also has to decide whether to approve a major new oilsands mine called the Teck Frontier project, which a couple of weeks ago seemed to be the government’s biggest headache.

The mine would emit megatonnes of climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions over its lifespan, but Alberta Premier Jason Kenney warns that nixing it would raise “roiling western alienation to a boiling point.”

A decision on the Teck Frontier project is due by the end of the month.