B.C. Premier John Horgan swears he’s not giving up the fight over the Trans Mountain pipeline.
His comments come a day after a seeming thaw in the bitter B.C.-Alberta trade dispute, which saw B.C. threaten to ban increased shipments of bitumen through the province and Alberta ban B.C. wine.
On Thursday, B.C. said it would refer the ban to the courts to decide issues of jurisdiction, and Alberta suspended the wine ban.
But on Friday, Horgan said his government isn’t raising the white flag.
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“When it comes to the Trans Mountain pipeline, when it comes to the transportation of diluted bitumen, I don’t think the premier of Alberta nor the prime minister should take any comfort in the fact that we have now referred the matter to courts for jurisdictional review,” he said.
“So we’ll see how things go from here, but we’re far from out of the woods on this issue, and I don’t say that with any glee, I say it more out of sorrow.”
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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has said she is confident that B.C. doesn’t have a case when it comes to asserting jurisdiction over the project.
During the 2017 election campaign, Horgan pledged to use “every tool in the tool box” to stop the 1,150-kilometre pipeline expansion from Edmonton to Burnaby.
The province is still proceeding with a planned provincial consultation on the effects of a bitumen spill.
It is also still moving ahead with a planned appeal of a National Energy Board (NEB) decision that allows Trans Mountain parent company Kinder Morgan to ignore a pair of Burnaby bylaws and begin construction at two sites in the Vancouver suburb.
As for whether B.C. had “blinked” in the standoff, as alleged by Notley on Thursday, Horgan said he wasn’t particularly concerned about the optics of the decision.
“If that fits your newscast, that’s fine with me. I’m not at all concerned about anything. I’m standing up for the coast, man,” Horgan said.
“I’m going to do what I think is right for British Columbia and I think British Columbians want me to do that.”