From Canada's Building Trades Unions <[email protected]>
Subject CBTU: Update on Enbridge's Line 5
Date May 7, 2021 5:20 PM
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** Update on Line 5
Thank you for your ongoing support and attention to the issue of Line 5. Canada's Building Trades Unions have been working closely with Enbridge, State, Provincial and Local Councils and Affiliates to ensure we’re doing whatever it takes to secure work for our members.


In November 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a notice of termination of Line 5’s 1953 easement, giving Enbridge 180 days to arrange for the shutdown of the pipeline. That  180-day  period expires on May 12.

Enbridge does not intend to stop operating the pipeline next week unless ordered by a court or regulator, contending that Line 5 is operating safely and reliably. Earlier this week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's team reiterated its position to shut down the pipeline calling it a “ticking time bomb” ([link removed]) .

Last night, Canada’s House of Commons had an emergency debate on Line 5 ([link removed]) courtesy of Conservative MP Blake Richards. Conservative, Liberal and NDP members highlighted the importance of Line 5 to the Canadian economy and workers, with the official opposition throwing criticism to the government for having not done more to protect the pipeline ahead of next week’s court deadline.

The Canadian Government is likely to intervene in the Line 5 court case by submitting a “friend of the court” brief in support of the pipeline’s continued operations.


Understanding the urgency of the situation surround Line 5, CBTU has undertaken a series of actions to advocate on behalf of our members including:
* The formation of a bilateral steering committee that meets regularly to update and coordinate on advocacy around Line 5.
* Issued statements, press releases and updates on the issue of Line 5 internally to our membership and externally to the media. Media coverage has included Opinion pieces in outlets including the Hamilton Spectator ([link removed]) , Daily Commercial News ([link removed]) , and BNN ([link removed]) .

* In March, on behalf of CBTU, I appeared alongside LiUNA Canadian Director, Joseph Mancinelli to the Special Committee on the Economic Relationship between Canada and the United States in support of our workers whose livelihood is at jeopardy if the pipeline shuts down. Subsequently, the Committee published a report ([link removed]) encouraging the Canadian Government to advocate for Line 5’s continued operations and its rights set out in the 1977 Treaty Agreement between the Government Of Canada and the Government of the United States Of America Concerning Transit Pipelines.
* Concurrently, CBTU and NABTU have worked with our legal team and most-affected provincial councils to prepare an amicus brief – a brief submitted by someone/a group who is not a party to a case – to the Michigan Court. At this stage, Enbridge is moving for the case to be remanded, arguing that a shutdown of Line 5 is a federal jurisdiction issue. Our brief contends that Line 5 is a federal issue and our support for Line 5, highlighting the jobs (on both sides of the boarder) in our industry that will be at risk if Line 5 is shutdown. Briefs from both sides are to be submitted by May 11 after which the judge will determine whether the case should stay in state court.
* As we continue to work alongside Enbridge, we are optimistic of our renewed partnership and to see more projects built by skilled, union labour. These projects include Enbridge’s $500-million Great Lakes Tunnel ([link removed]) that will house Line 5 deep under the Straits of Mackinac; currently, we are finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding with Enbridge to ensure the Tunnel is built by Building Trades members.

As we move forward, CBTU will send out updates on Line 5 and we need your continued support, the support of our affiliates and councils to ensure we do whatever we can to protect these jobs for our members.

Stay safe,

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Canada's Building Trades Unions . 72 Chamberlain Avenue . Ottawa, ON K1S 1V9 . Canada

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