B.C. won’t es­ca­late row over pipe­line, Hor­gan says

While Not­ley re­mains on the of­fen­sive, other Prairie pre­miers call for calm

Edmonton Journal - - CITY - EMMA GRANEY

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.”

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