B.C. feels frosty politics
Bans, delays from Alberta and feds since pipeline ban
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.