Sask. may restrict B.C.’s access to energy
Meanwhile, Premier Moe wants Ottawa to restrict B.C.’s infrastructure funding
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe wants to see the federal government restrict infrastructure funding to British Columbia, in the hope it will allow construction on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to continue.
Those comments came Monday, shortly after the Alberta government introduced a law that will give its energy minister power to stop the flow of oil, gasoline and natural gas from going west to B.C. Moe says Saskatchewan will introduce a similar law to ensure B.C. doesn’t access markets here for those products.
At issue is B.C’s continued opposition to the pipeline expansion, which has been approved by the federal government but is being challenged in court by the province. Kinder Morgan has stopped all non-essential work on the project and given May 31 as a deadline to eliminate all legal interferences.
The landlocked provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan contend the pipeline would allow access to tidewater and foreign markets, resulting in billions of dollars in revenues through oil sales to countries other than the United States.
“This is a place where the federal government clearly has jurisdiction, and they clearly have still provided over four billion dollars in infrastructure to the province of (British Columbia),” said Moe on Monday, saying Ottawa should consider “withholding infrastructure funding” to get the pipeline built.
Legislation “if not mirroring, being something similar” to what was introduced in Alberta will be brought forward within days, the premier said.
He said he wants to see the law passed “as quickly as possible” and that he will be asking the opposition NDP to support it.
Moe’s ability to make that happen will be a challenge, based on the comments Monday from NDP leader Ryan Meili.
“I don’t think at this time it’s appropriate for us to be taking retaliatory measures. This is a federal issue and we should be demanding leadership from the federal government,” Meili said.
B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said his province is prepared to defend its interests “with every legal means available and in the courts” and that court action would be considered if Alberta’s law, once passed, causes gasoline prices to go up on the West Coast.
Millions of dollars worth of goods are exchanged between Saskatchewan and B.C. each year. The most recent data provided by Saskatchewan was from 2014. It shows Saskatchewan shipped close to $400 million worth of refined petroleum products to B.C. The same products flowing in the opposite direction totalled less than $50 million in value.