B.C. feels frosty pol­i­tics

Bans, de­lays from Al­berta and feds since pipe­line ban

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - Vancouver -

Po­lit­i­cal hur­dles in the form of de­lays, bans and tolls have been raised in Bri­tish Columbia in the weeks since the prov­ince served no­tice that it would tem­po­rar­ily ban ex­panded ship­ments of bi­tu­men on the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line.

While the fed­eral and Al­berta govern­ments de­nied Wed­nes­day they were mov­ing in re­tal­i­a­tion, B.C.’S Op­po­si­tion Lib­er­als are point­ing to the co­in­ci­dence of a steady stream of ob­sta­cles.

B.C.’S de­ci­sion to halt in­creased ship­ments of the di­luted bi­tu­men un­til fur­ther en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies are con­cluded saw Al­berta cut off talks to pur­chase $500 mil­lion worth of elec­tric­ity from B.C. and then ban the prov­ince’s wine im­ports.

Al­berta Pre­mier Rachel Not- ley at­tended the first meet­ing on Wed­nes­day of a 19-mem­ber panel, which in­cludes for­mer New Brunswick pre­mier Frank Mckenna and for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter Anne Mclel­lan, that will look into ef­forts to pres­sure B.C. to back down from its pipe­line fight.

As the task force met, Al­berta’s De­part­ment of En­ergy is­sued a state­ment say­ing a re­cent reg­u­la­tory dis­pute with B.C. over nat­u­ral gas pipe­line tolls is not con­nected with the Trans Moun­tain con­flict.

In a Feb. 8 let­ter to the Na­tional En­ergy Board, the de­part­ment voiced its op­po­si­tion to the North Mont­ney Main­land Ex­ten­sion project that would link B.C. nat­u­ral gas op­er­a­tions with east­ern mar­kets.

“Our fil­ing has noth­ing to do with the re­cent dis­pute with the govern­ment of B.C.,’’ said the Al­berta state­ment. “The fil­ing is con­sis­tent with Al­berta’s past po­si­tions re­lat­ing to fair and just toll prin­ci­ples as well as con­sis­tent, well-es­tab­lished and ac­cepted pipe­line tolling prin­ci­ples.’’

The Al­berta govern­ment’s de­nial of re­tal­i­a­tion comes as the fed­eral govern­ment dis­missed claims that pipe­line pol­i­tics con­trib­uted to last Fri­day’s abrupt post­pone­ment of a joint B.c.ot­tawa child-care fund­ing news con­fer­ence.

A spokesman for So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Jean-yves Du­c­los said the an­nounce­ment was post­poned be­cause of sched­ul­ing is­sues.

“This is in no way con­nected to B.C.’S po­si­tion on Kin­der Mor­gan, and will have no im­pact to the amount or terms for the prov­ince,’’ said Mathieu Fil­ion in an emailed state­ment. “We will have more to say re­gard­ing reschedul­ing the an­nounce­ment with B.C. in due course.’’

Vice Chair of the Board of ATB Fi­nan­cial Jim Carter, left, and Vice Pres­i­dent of Husky Janet An­nes­ley lis­ten as Al­berta Pre­mier Rachel Not­ley speaks be­fore the meet­ing of the Mar­ket Ac­cess Task Force in Ed­mon­ton on Wed­nes­day.

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