Feds would take ‘ac­tion’ if B.C. stalls pipe­line

Ottawa Citizen - - POLITICS - Mia raB­son

OT­TAWA • Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Jim Carr says the gov­ern­ment will not en­ter­tain any at­tempts by Bri­tish Columbia to stall or stop the ex­pan­sion of the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line.

“If that is the goal of any prov­ince, we will take the nec­es­sary ac­tion to en­sure that fed­er­ally ap­proved re­source projects pro­ceed.” Carr said Mon­day. When asked if that in­cludes taking B.C. to court, he said Canada has “all kinds of op­tions” to ex­ert its con­sti­tu­tional author­ity over in­ter­provin­cial pipe­lines.

Fed­eral of­fi­cials, min­is­ters and Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau have been ne­go­ti­at­ing with Al­berta and B.C. for al­most two weeks now, ever since B.C. launched a con­sul­ta­tion ask­ing its res­i­dents whether the prov­ince should ban any in­crease in oil flows through pipe­lines within the prov­ince pend­ing fur­ther re­search on the im­pact of an oil spill.

Such a ban would kill the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion, which was given fed­eral ap­proval in Novem­ber 2016 and would triple ca­pac­ity of a line that al­ready runs be­tween Ed­mon­ton and Van­cou­ver.

B.C. hasn’t yet en­acted such a ban, which lim­its the le­gal op­tions for Ot­tawa to fight back.

“All Bri­tish Columbia has tan­gi­bly done at this point is sig­nal its in­ten­tion to con­sult with the peo­ple of its prov­ince,” said Carr.

Ot­tawa has con­sti­tu­tional ju­ris­dic­tion over in­ter­provin­cial in­fra­struc­ture, such as high­ways, pipe­lines and elec­tric­ity grids. Al­berta wants the pipe­line, but the B.C. NDP gov­ern­ment elected last year cam­paigned on a prom­ise to use “ev­ery tool in the tool­box” to fight it.

Al­berta Pre­mier Rachel Not­ley said Mon­day Ot­tawa has to per­suade B.C. to take the threat to limit oil flows off the ta­ble.

“That is com­pletely un­con­sti­tu­tional, it’s a made-up author­ity, it’s a made-up law, it’s ridicu­lous,” she said.

“That threat must be re­moved. We ap­pre­ci­ate that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment gets the ridicu­lous­ness of it as much as we do, but sit­ting back and let­ting B.C. threaten it and not do­ing any­thing to tell them to pull back the threat and stop walk­ing around be­ing ridicu­lous, that’s the key ob­jec­tive we’re seek­ing.”

In re­tal­i­a­tion for B.C.’s threat to kill the pipe­line, Not­ley can­celled talks to buy B.C. elec­tric­ity and banned im­ports of B.C. wine into Al­berta. She says the moves have helped get Ot­tawa’s at­ten­tion, there are more op­tions Al­berta can take and she be­lieves Ot­tawa is work­ing to find a so­lu­tion.

“They know we’re se­ri­ous,” Not­ley said.

Shan­non Stubbs, fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive nat­u­ral re­sources critic, is not as con­vinced as Not­ley that Ot­tawa is do­ing ev­ery­thing it can to get the pipe­line built. She in­tro­duced an op­po­si­tion mo­tion in the House of Com­mons on Mon­day calling on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to make pub­lic no later than Feb. 15,

THAT IS COM­PLETELY UN­CON­STI­TU­TIONAL, IT’S A MADE-UP AUTHOR­ITY.

its spe­cific plan to get the pipe­line built.

Stubbs said the Lib­er­als keep say­ing the same thing over and over, that they ap­proved the pipe­line and that it will get built, but they are not putting any specifics on the ta­ble about how that will hap­pen. She said it’s in­cum­bent on them to decide what those moves are, but said they should in­clude defin­ing “un­nec­es­sary de­lays” and what will be done to get B.C. to re­move the threat to ban in­creased oil flows.

Carr called the Con­ser­va­tive mo­tion an at­tempt to man­u­fac­ture a cri­sis and stoke re­gional ten­sions.

Con­struc­tion be­gan on the Westridge Marine Ter­mi­nal where the pipe­line ends in Burn­aby, B.C. in Septem­ber 2017, but con­struc­tion on the pipe­line it­self is still await­ing fi­nal per­mits and route ap­provals. Kin­der Mor­gan re­cently said it ex­pects the op­er­a­tional date for the pipe­line is now a year later than ex­pected, in De­cem­ber 2020. Of­fi­cials have also said they are com­mit­ted to the $7.4 bil­lion pro­ject de­spite the lat­est stum­bling blocks.

JUSTIN TANG/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Jim Carr said Mon­day that his gov­ern­ment has “all kinds of op­tions” to ex­ert its author­ity on a western pipe­line.

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