Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in on the escalating dispute between Alberta and B.C. over the Kinder Morgan Pipeline on Wednesday, urging unity on the issue.
B.C. Premier John Horgan said last week the province is considering banning increased shipments of diluted bitumen off the West Coast. In response, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Tuesday that her province’s government liquor importer, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, would turn off the tap for B.C. wines.
Trudeau said Wednesday that the federal government’s focus is on what’s best for Canada as a whole.
“Obviously we’re going to continue to make sure that we’re standing up for the national interest,” he said.
“Canadians know that the environment and the economy need to go together and that’s why we’ve moved forward on three things that go together: getting our new resources to new markets safely and securely through responsible means; investing in world-class ocean protections plans to protect the B.C. coast and other coasts; and making sure we have a national price on carbon that’s going to reduce our emissions,” he said.
“We need to do all three of those things together.”
WATCH: Feds concerned by Alberta, B.C. dispute, but pipeline must go through
Last week, Trudeau commented on the issue on 630 CHED. “We were assured, and we did the science and we did the research, the Kinder Morgan pipeline is not a danger to the B.C. coast. Particularly not, given the billions of dollars that we’ve invested in the Oceans Protection Plan.”
From B.C, Horgan said he hopes Alberta steps back from “this threatening position,” and B.C. wine producers are concerned the Alberta ban will hurt their business.
LISTEN: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley on 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen Show
Tourism is also a concern. According to 2015 statistics from Destination BC, Albertans accounted for nearly $1.4 billion of $9.9 billion in total tourism spending that year. Alberta spending represented nearly one in four Canadian tourism dollars spent in the province, and more than 13 per cent of all tourism spending in B.C. that year.
LISTEN: Alberta UCP leader Jason Kenney speaks to Notley’s B.C. wine ban on the Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED
On Wednesday, Trudeau stressed he is interested in the federal government’s responsibility in the matter. “We stand up for the federal government’s role and responsibility, which includes responsibility over the provinces,” he said.
“We’re continuing to discuss and engage with the B.C. government, with the Alberta government. We’re making sure that we come to the right place that’s in the national interest.”
“We’re going to continue to engage with the premiers on a regular basis.”
WATCH: Coverage of the Alberta and B.C. dispute on globalnews.ca:
-With files from Richard Zussman, Phil Heidenreich, Emily Mertz, Jesse Ferreras and Simon Little