Premier vows to continue work with B.C. government after election splits power
Premier Rachel Notley had intended to begin a Wednesday morning speech at the Canadian Labour Congress in Toronto by congratulating the clear premier-elect of British Columbia.
Instead, she started by thanking the people of B.C. for two things — creating an “interesting day” as Canadians absorb the reality of the province’s split political power base, and providing “decades worth of cautionary tales” to election day organizers about the importance of each and every vote.
Tuesday’s historic election in the westernmost province has plunged Alberta’s neighbours into the kind of uncertain minority government not seen in 65 years, although Liberal Leader Christy Clark has vowed to keep on as premier.
Notley told the labour crowd Wednesday she’s eager to work with Clark, NDP Leader John Horgan and B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver as they embark on what they have all described as a new way of governing B.C.
“My government looks forward to working with B.C. on our shared priorities, helping to build a Canada that works for working people with good jobs, economic opportunity and trade between our provinces,” she said.
The big issue facing Alberta as British Columbians heading to the polls Tuesday was the future of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, given the green light by Ottawa last year.
The B.C. New Democrat and Green parties are opposed to the pipeline, but Notley said last week a potential new government there would have few mechanisms to reverse the decision.
She also remained convinced in the strength of her NDP government’s pro-pipeline message, and pledged to keep selling it to our western neighbours as the election rhetoric dies down.
That messaging was in full swing in Toronto, where Notley was already targeting British Columbians as she delivered her speech.
The Trans Mountain pipeline, she said, is critical to the wellbeing of all Canadians, creating thousands of much-needed jobs right away in B.C., Alberta and across the country. Those jobs will be particularly important to rural communities and B.C.’s Interior during softwood lumber talks.
The Trans Mountain expansion would twin an existing oil pipeline to Burnaby, B.C., from Edmonton, tripling Kinder Morgan’s oil capacity to 890,000 barrels a day and increasing oil-tanker traffic in the ocean off Metro Vancouver.
Notley also took the chance to peddle her government’s climate leadership plan, which de-links pipelines from increasing greenhouse gas emissions by including an emissions cap.
“The Trans Mountain pipeline allows Alberta the opportunity to move toward a lower-carbon economy,” she said. “Simply put, Alberta cannot be a climate-change leader if our economy is put in a straitjacket, unable to access new customers for our energy products.”
Simply put, Alberta cannot be a climatechange leader if our economy is put in a straitjacket, unable to access new customers.