Pre­mier warns pa­tience is thin

Not­ley gives B.C., Ot­tawa just days to act or she’ll up pipe­line stakes

Edmonton Journal - - FRONT PAGE - EMMA GRANEY

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.”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/FILES

Pre­mier John Hor­gan plans to in­ten­sify ef­forts to find new mar­kets for B.C. wine, par­tic­u­larly af­ter Al­berta’s ban on it.

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