February 3, 2018 3:00 pm
Updated: February 4, 2018 4:57 pm

Danielle Smith: Alberta retaliates against B.C. bitumen restrictions

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project's Westeridge loading dock is seen in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016.


Forgive me for thinking that a population of people who can’t be bothered to build a wastewater treatment plant because they prefer to dump raw sewage into the ocean is not genuinely interested in protecting the environment.

Yes, I am talking about B.C.

It is also remarkable that a region whose economic success is so intertwined with Alberta is so clueless about how much we rely on each other for our mutual success.

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READ MORE: Alberta government suspends electricity talks with B.C. in response to proposed ban on increased bitumen shipments

The B.C. NDP government’s announcement that it intends to restrict our ability to export bitumen got our listeners blood boiling this week.

So, what can we do about it? I’ve been talking to different people this week to try to get some answers to that.

Premier Rachel Notley said she is retaliating by suspending negotiations about buying electricity from B.C., in a deal that would be worth as much as $500 million. Sounds good on the surface, but it got my listeners asking why we are buying $500 million worth of electricity from B.C.?

I spoke to energy market expert Sheldon Fulton about it. He said most power currently going back and forth between our two provinces is sold at zero value, so he’s not sure where Notley is getting these numbers.

LISTEN: Danielle Smith and Sheldon Fulton discuss purchasing electricity from British Columbia 

READ MORE: Alberta premier says B.C. will face consequences over plan to ban increased oil shipments

I spoke to Jason Kenney as well. He supports launching a court action against the B.C. government, but he also isn’t afraid to ramp up the pressure.

The lower mainland gets two-thirds of its supply from Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Is there any doubt how disruptive it would be to B.C. if Alberta decided to turn off the taps?

Or how about slapping an import tax on every MCF of natural gas that flows through Alberta pipelines en route to the US?

LISTEN: What is Jason Kenney’s response to the pipeline battle? 

Finally, Cody Battershill from Canada Action reminded us of the Tar Sands Campaign organized in 2008 by CorpEthics and funded by U.S. based foundations and environmental groups.

CorpEthics brags about the strategy to “land-lock the tar sands so their crude could not reach the international market where it could fetch a high price” and that it is a strategy that “is successful to this day.”

He encourages every one of us to get on the phone and talk to B.C. friends, family, suppliers, small businesses, and get them to tell their government they are making the wrong decision.
LISTEN: Cody Battershill discusses what Albertans can do in response to British Columbia 

READ MORE: Alberta Premier Notley says B.C. ‘grasping at straws’ in attempt to restrict bitumen shipments

We have all kinds of ways we could use the pretext of environmental regulation to retaliate against B.C. For instance, Alberta is rat-free. How can we be sure we don’t accidently import any rats unless we stop every railcar, every transport semi, every passenger vehicle – just to be sure?

Why stop there? We also know there are invasive species of insects and weeds that might harm our province’s biodiversity. Best to have checkstops to give a thorough check of every single vehicle that comes across the border from B.C., don’t you think?

Obviously, this would be ridiculous. But it illustrates how ridiculous B.C. is being.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray restaurant pulls B.C. wines amid bitumen battle

Personally, I’m waging a personal protest against B.C. My folks have a trailer just outside of Sicamous, B.C. I didn’t go there last year and I won’t be going there this year.

Quails’ Gate and Nk’Mip white wines used to be a couple of favourites of mine, that I would seek out specifically to support our B.C. industry friends. No more.

If British Columbians aren’t going to be a good neighbour, I see no reason to either.

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