Rachel Notley continues to push B.C. on pipeline

Rachel Notley continues to push B.C. on pipeline
Rachel Notley continues to push B.C. on pipeline

Rachel Notley warns of new measures next week if no progress in B.C. pipeline talks.

That province has until next week to step back from its threat to reduce bitumen shipments, or Alberta will come at its western neighbours with guns blazing.

“Albertans are only so patient. We do have other tools at our disposal, and … you’ll be hearing more on that next week if we see no evidence of progress,” Notley said during a speech Friday.

The premier took her message to the Alberta Pipe Trades College, rallying trainees, workers and union members in the ongoing spat with B.C.

The fight isn’t about politicians or government, she said, “it’s about people like you.”

“These are your jobs, your hospitals, your schools, your future,” Notley said. “Let’s work together and end the delay. If we keep this fight up together, we will be successful.”

Notley said she hasn’t spoken with B.C. Premier John Horgan since the fight kicked off late last month. That’s when 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 — that’s under federal government jurisdiction.

Horgan’s government originally announced that the ban would be in place while it studies spill safety measures. But Tuesday, he told reporters it was never the intention to have the ban in place during consultation.

Speaking to a crowd Friday in Edmonton, Notley paraphrased comments made this week by former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna during the first meeting of Alberta’s market access task force.

Each day the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is delayed, Notley said, Canada is forced to sell its resources to the U.S. at a hugely discounted price.

“Tens of millions of dollars of Canadian wealth evaporates, and you know where it reappears? It reappears south of the border in Donald Trump’s America,” Notley said.

“Why would we do that? What kind of country operates that way? It shouldn’t be our country.”

Notley took aim at Horgan not just for being a willing participant in funnelling cash south of the border, but standing in the way of Canada’s climate change plan, which was developed with the completed pipeline in mind.

“It doesn’t make sense for a government that is wrapping itself in an environmental flag to do so in a way that undermines significant environmental progress,” she said.

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