Premier warns patience is thin
Notley gives B.C., Ottawa just days to act or she’ll up pipeline stakes
The B.C. and federal governments have just days to figure out the Trans Mountain pipeline spat, or Alberta will ramp up retaliation against its western neighbour.
Premier Rachel Notley told reporters Monday in Edmonton that B.C. and Ottawa officials are currently in talks to resolve what she has branded that province’s illegal, unconstitutional actions.
She’ll give the two governments space to talk, but they shouldn’t expect long.
“We’re not going to wait indefinitely,” Notley said.
She said her government will assess signals out of B.C. and Ottawa each day as it figures out its next steps in the ongoing dispute. The battle kicked off two weeks ago when B.C. Premier John Horgan said his province would restrict increases in bitumen shipments from Alberta until more spill response studies are conducted.
The problem is, provinces don’t have the authority to regulate what goes through pipelines. Notley fired back that the move undermined the very foundation of Confederation.
Last week, she announced Alberta’s liquor authority will no longer import B.C. wines.
B.C. has two choices, Notley said Monday. It can either reverse its planned policy on bitumen, or it can “dig in their heels and pretend they’re a separate country with powers to make whatever laws they want, with no regard for the constitution or the view and rights of other communities.
“We don’t seek an escalation, but if B.C. continues to insist that they have rights to attack Alberta’s economy that they don’t have, we will have no choice but to respond.”
On Tuesday, Notley’s government will roll out a series of online tools that will allow Albertans to engage with people in other parts of the country and explain why the pipeline is important for Canada’s economic and environmental progress. When asked whether she thinks anything will change Horgan’s mind, Notley said he was elected not on a platform of stopping the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but on using all the tools at his disposal to try to do so.
“I’m suggesting that it should be a tool box that’s legal, not a stolen tool box,” Notley said.
The Alberta government has formed a task force to deal with retaliatory
I’m suggesting that it should be a tool box that’s legal, not a stolen tool box.
measures against B.C. It will meet later this week, and Notley said it’s not ruling out any options.
United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney asked Friday for the legislature to reconvene for an emergency debate on the pipeline battle and the need for Ottawa to intervene.
Notley said it’s more important to speak with people across Canada right now, rather than other politicians inside the legislature.
“This is a critical moment for our country. We can either act as one nation with a common future committed to jobs, prosperity, social justice and a clean environment, or we can continue this unnecessary fight,” Notley said.
“The ball is in B.C.’s court.”
Premier John Horgan plans to intensify efforts to find new markets for B.C. wine, particularly after Alberta’s ban on it.