Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she is following through with her threat to restrict petroleum shipments to B.C. as the dispute over oil pipeline expansion heats up.
“We are introducing legislation to allow us to restrict product to B.C.,” Notley announced on Twitter Monday afternoon.
Notley reiterated that the Alberta government is willing to invest public money in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project if necessary, and urged the federal government to “follow our lead” to press B.C. to drop its opposition.
Premier John Horgan took every question in the B.C. legislature Monday, rejecting accusations that his continued opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is unconstitutional and damaging to the national economy.
“I don’t give a damn what The Globe and Mail says,” Horgan replied after the newspaper’s lead editorial was quoted to him by B.C. Liberal critics in question period.
Horgan continued the argument of B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman, who told reporters earlier that a court challenge of the project is appropriate and any action by Alberta to penalize B.C. would be “unlawful.” The court reference was made after Alberta cut off shipments of B.C. wine to retaliate against Heyman’s proposal for new regulations to restrict diluted bitumen transport across the province.
Reaction has been fast and furious since Kinder Morgan announced on Sunday it has suspended non-essential spending on the project, twinning its 65-year-old crude oil and fuel pipeline from Alberta to southwestern B.C.
B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said the federal government’s criticism of Horgan’s government on a pipeline that has federal and provincial approval is the kind usually reserved for Quebec separatists.
The Business Council of B.C. is calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to meet with B.C. Premier John Horgan to resolve the standoff over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
“This is no longer about a pipeline project or whether one supports or opposes the legal movement of energy in Canada, which all Canadians and our economy rely on,” said Greg D’Avignon, president of the business council.
“Provoked by the B.C. government’s continued position, this is a referendum on whether British Columbia is open to investment and whether a legal enterprise can, with any confidence, build and operate a business within the province and the country.”
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Monday she has told Horgan that her government will move quickly to pass legislation with “serious economic consequences on British Columbia” if its opposition to the project continues.
“In cabinet, we discussed the importance of getting this pipeline built,” Notley said. “If the voices of the majority of Canadians are forgotten, the reverberations of that will tear at the fabric of confederation for many years to come.”
Federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr reaffirmed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assurance that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will continue.
Horgan’s efforts to stop the project “harm the entire Canadian economy,” Carr said. “At a time of great global trade uncertainty, the importance of Canada’s role in the global energy market is bigger than individual projects and provinces.”