B.C. won’t escalate row over pipeline, Horgan says
While Notley remains on the offensive, other Prairie premiers call for calm
Neither premier is backing down in Alberta and British Columbia’s feud over pipelines as federal officials make their way to the West Coast on Thursday to talk with B.C. bureaucrats about jurisdiction.
Speaking with media Wednesday afternoon, B.C. Premier John Horgan said Premier Rachel Notley can do whatever she likes, but he intends to continue consulting with British Columbians about the effects of a catastrophic pipeline spill.
“I hope that we would see the end of the back-and-forth,” he told a news conference in Victoria.
“We’re going to focus on the issues that matter to British Columbians, and hope the cooler heads on the other side of the Rockies will prevail.”
More details on the B.C. government’s intentions are expected by the end of the month, Horgan said.
He said officials from Ottawa will meet with deputy ministers from the B.C. government on Thursday to clarify the province’s rights over the jurisdictional dispute.
“It’s not the government’s intention to respond in any way to the provocation,” he said.
He also stood by his province’s plan to restrict bitumen shipments to the West Coast, saying it’s not unconstitutional — no matter what Notley thinks.
Still, he hopes the back-andforth between the two provinces will soon be over.
It’s not in anybody’s best interests to have “duelling premiers,” he said, adding his province doesn’t intend on retaliating to Alberta’s B.C. wine boycott.
Earlier Wednesday, Notley released a video urging the federal government to intervene in the dispute.
“When Alberta’s economy is allowed to enjoy the benefits of the billions of dollars a year that a successful pipeline will bring to our province, more people will be able to eat in Alberta restaurants and buy B.C. wine,” she said.
“B.C.’s campaign to stop Alberta from exporting our energy products is wrong. And it requires a clear and unequivocal response.”
OTHER PRAIRIE PREMIERS URGE CALM
Notley’s Prairie counterparts called for a different approach.
In a statement on Facebook, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said while his province supports Alberta in its fight, he doesn’t think the dispute will be solved by trade measures that have an impact on consumers and private businesses.
Moe suggested rather than boycott B.C. wine, Saskatchewan will look at options through the courts or interprovincial trade agreements.
Meanwhile, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said increasing
It’s got approval, it’s got support, it’s got 157 conditions, and an oceans protection plan is in place. British Columbia doesn’t have a role here.
regional tensions and economic uncertainty over the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline project should be defused as quickly as possible.
Pallister said in a statement that he has promoted open trade among the provinces and is concerned about the controversy in the energy sector, and the resulting provocation and threats at the provincial level.
TALKS WITH TRUDEAU
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented briefly Wednesday, suggesting he is speaking to the premiers behind the scenes.
“We’re continuing to discuss and engage with the B.C. government, with the Alberta government,” the prime minister said before his weekly caucus meeting. “We’re making sure we come to the right place that’s in the national interest for Canada.
“We’re going to continue to engage with the premiers on a regular basis.”
Federal and B.C. officials will meet Thursday to discuss the current kerfuffle.
“That, I believe, will clarify our intentions and what we believe is our jurisdiction,” Horgan said.
While political reaction has ranged from lukewarm to negative, the head of Kinder Morgan applauded Notley’s efforts to put pressure on British Columbia in the pipeline dispute.
Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited, said it’s unfortunate that the pipeline debate escalated into a wider trade dispute with Alberta banning imports of B.C. wine, because such disputes are harmful to all involved. But, he said, it helps to remind B.C. of the severity of their actions.
Anderson said he sent a letter this week to Horgan about his concerns for the province’s plans and its implications for the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain project that would almost triple the capacity of the pipeline.
“We are calling on the premier to think very serious about the severity of the actions and the path that they’re undertaking here. I don’t think anyone is missing the agenda that they’re pursuing.”
If the B.C. government intends on pursing a review of the Trans Mountain project, he stated, “it should be used to broaden understanding and learning, not as a tool to frustrate or delay our project and investment generally in the energy sector in Canada.”
He also pointed out that the Trans Mountain pipeline has been safely transporting crude oil in B.C. for 65 years.
Echoing comments made by Notley, Anderson says B.C.’s actions are clearly illegal and unconstitutional and he is looking for more action from the federal government.
Speaking in French after a government caucus meeting in Ottawa, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna suggested solutions are being worked on behind the scenes.
Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, agreed Wednesday.
“What British Columbia’s government did was outside the Constitution … The federal government, conversing with each province, I think that’s fine, but their primary role here is ensuring that this project, which has federal approval, moves forward,” McMillan said after an Edmonton Chamber of Commerce meeting.
“It’s got approval, it’s got support, it’s got 157 conditions, and an oceans protection plan is in place. British Columbia doesn’t have a role here.
“They have a role to consult with their citizens, they have a role to ensure environmental protections.”
“It’s not the government’s intention to respond in any way to the provocation,” says B.C. Premier John Horgan. “B.C.’s campaign to stop Alberta from exporting our energy products is wrong,” says Premier Rachel Notley. “And it requires a clear and unequivocal response.”