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Alberta premier spells out Kinder Morgan retaliation in ‘frank chat’ with B.C. premier

Alberta premier Rachel Notley. Photo by Dave Cournoyer, Wikipedia creative commons
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EDMONTON, A.B. — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says British Columbia’s opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline threatens the rule of law in Canada and says she made it clear in a phone call to B.C. Premier John Horgan that her province is retaliating.

Notley says they had what she called a “very frank chat.”

She says she is also introducing legislation this week to give Alberta the power to reduce oil flows to B.C., which could send gas prices in the province soaring.

Notley’s comments after Kinder Morgan announced Sunday it was scaling back work on the Trans Mountain pipeline, saying opposition from the B.C. government puts the project at risk.

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B.C. is fighting the multibillion-dollar expansion with legal challenges and permit delays over concern about oil spills and coastline protection.

The expansion project, from Edmonton to Burnaby, already has federal approval and Notley says B.C.’s actions ignore the rule of law and threaten to provoke a constitutional crisis.

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“There are those out there who are, at this point, calling this moment that we are in a constitutional crisis for the country,” Notley said in a statement Monday prior to a cabinet meeting. “I don’t know really if that’s too far off.”

Kinder Morgan has given a deadline of May 31 for a clear signal that the Trans Mountain project can proceed.

Notley said the federal government needs to step up with concrete action.

“If the federal government allows its authority to be challenged in this way, if the national interest is given over to the extremes on the left or the right, and if the voices of the moderate majority of Canadians are forgotten, the reverberations of that will tear at the fabric of Confederation for many, many years to come,” she said.

The project would triple the amount of oil shipped from Alberta to B.C.

Notley says the expansion is critical to getting oil to overseas markets and fetching a better price. Right now, Alberta oil is effectively confined to North American markets and sells at a comparative discount due to shipping bottlenecks.

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