As the caucuses of British Columbia’s NDP and Green parties are set to vote on a deal that would see them form government in that province, some Alberta politicians spoke out Monday to say a NDP-Green coalition government shouldn’t prevent Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project from going forward.
“The federal government was in a position to be able to grant approvals, they have granted those approvals and we are committed to moving forward with our pipeline,” said Alberta Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman shortly after the tentative deal was announced on Monday.
B.C.’s Liberal party fell one seat short of winning a majority government in the May 9 election and official cooperation between the Greens and New Democrats would scuttle the Liberals attempt to continue running the province.
On Tuesday morning, Premier Rachel Notley released a statement to say Alberta is committed to working with its B.C. neighbours.
“Should an accord between the B.C. NDP and the B.C .Green Party result in a John Horgan-led government, I know Mr. Horgan and I will be able to work together on important issues facing our two provinces,” she said.
“It is no secret that we have one important disagreement. As I have said from the beginning, the twinning of the Trans Mountain Pipeline is critical not only to Alberta’s economy, but to the national economy. And it comes with significant safety measures that will better protect Canada’s west coast and Alberta’s commitment to a world-leading climate plan. Because of that, the National Energy Board and the federal government – which has ultimate responsibility – approved it after a rigorous environmental review.”
Notley said her NDP government is “steadfastly committed” to seeing the twinning of the Trans Mountain Pipeline completed and will use “the means at our disposal to ensure that the project is built, that it meets the highest possible environmental standards, and that it contributes to economic growth and jobs in Alberta, British Columbia and Canada.”
At a media availability on Tuesday morning, Notley reiterated her stance on the pipeline.
“Mark my words. That pipeline will be built.”
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Both the Greens and New Democrats have expressed opposition to the Trans Mountain project, which would see the capacity of a pipeline running from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., nearly triple its capacity.
The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has been the subject of angry protests in B.C. and is facing numerous court challenges.
Alberta has obtained intervener status in court challenges of the project filed by municipalities and First Nations in southwest B.C.
However, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said Monday he is concerned about how a Green-NDP government might change things and called on Ottawa to make sure the project goes ahead.
“There is some opportunity for provincial governments to slow projects down,” Jean said. “Although I would suggest that the federal government has an obligation to put through approved projects and to do all that they possibly can.”
Shortly after the tentative deal to form government was announced, a spokesperson for Kinder Morgan said his company expects its share listing for the Trans Mountain expansion will go ahead on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The company hopes the initial public offering will raise $1.75 billion to help fund the $7.4-billion project.
Details about the tentative deal between the Greens and New Democrats are expected to emerge after the parties’ caucuses vote on the accord.
With files from The Canadian Press and Caley Ramsay, Global News.