Alberta Suspends Electricity Purchase Talks With BC Over Kinder Morgan Pipeline

Gwen Vasquez
February 5, 2018

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says there will be consequences for British Columbia over the province's latest attempt to hinder expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

British Columbia's premier says his government is trying to protect the province, not be provocative, when it comes to a proposed ban on increasing the amount of diluted bitumen that can be shipped from the west coast.

Notley's anger is understandable given what's at stake and the sheer audacity of B.C.'s delaying tactic.

"We're prepared to do what it takes to get this pipeline built - whatever it takes", she told a news conference Thursday after speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the phone.

Mr. Trudeau said Ottawa will look at "various steps" of action the federal government could take on the issue, if necessary.

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Speaking on Edmonton talk radio station CHED earlier in the day, Trudeau said the pipeline expansion is in the national interest and will go ahead.

This could potentially jeporadize the construction of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. He said he will establish an independent scientific advisory panel to study the issue.

This is not an Alberta-B.C. issue. He said ultimately it is in Canada's interest to get oil to new markets across the Pacific, and that the country can not continue to be "trapped" by the price discount, or differential, it receives from American customers. In the meantime, she hopes the federal government will intervene. Val Litwin, president and chief executive of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, said Friday, calling on Trudeau to "defend the Constitution".

Trudeau's town hall in Edmonton last night had only one question about pipelines and that was largely focused on why the prime minister has yet to approve more of them, rather than why he hasn't stopped further expansions.

Trudeau said the $7.4-billion project was approved by the federal government in 2016 and added, "We can't continue to be trapped".

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