Alberta’s environment minister made her way down to B.C. and made her case for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Joining the Lynda Steele Show on CKNW, Shannon Phillips said that even though B.C. and Alberta are “the most interlinked provinces” in Canada, they are not afraid to retaliate if B.C. continues to stall on the controversial project.
WATCH: Shannon Phillips joins the Lynda Steele Show on CKNW
“The last thing that we would want to do is jeopardize the incredible amount of links between our two economies,” Phillips said.
“But at the same time we need to make sure that people understand that if they are a tax on our economy, and a tax on investor confidence and further efforts to delay or harass a project that has been given its regulatory approvals, that Alberta takes those things seriously.”
Regarding Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s threat to cut off oil, Phillips said they’ve given themselves the tools to respond, as they did with the B.C. wine ban. She said they will respond to any further attempts to delay the project.
“The reason we take it so seriously is the tremendous jobs and economic benefits of getting access to markets for our energy products,” Phillips said. “Those benefits are also for the people of British Columbia as they are for the people of Alberta.”
Relations took a deeper dive this week when Deron Bilous, Alberta’s Economic Development Minister, described B.C. politicians as “s**theads.” But Phillips said his actions don’t reflect the actual desire to move forward, noting that’s why the minister apologized.
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“When Alberta succeeds, the country succeeds,” she said.
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She said the pipeline is not a B.C.-Alberta issue, but rather a countrywide matter, noting that all of Canada will benefit once the expected $5.7 billion in new revenue from the expansion starts to come in.
Phillips also denied that Alberta’s continued push for the expansion was mainly a political move to get Rachel Notley re-elected next year.
She said Alberta’s government is worried about B.C.’s reaction and the message it is sending to the rest of the world, especially investors.
“If politics can essentially get in the way and triumph over a project that has gone through all of its regulatory approvals, that is not a message that we want to send to the rest of the world,” said Phillips.
The minister said her province shares B.C.’s concerns over the environmental impacts of the expansion on the province’s coastline, but noted they can only be responsible for what happens in Alberta.
“Transport and marine safety is a federal jurisdiction, and that is why they have moved forward with $1.5 billion worth of new investments and an Ocean Protection Plan.”
Spill management on the province’s coast has also come under increased scrutiny in the wake of widely-criticized responses to the 2015 Marathassa spill in English Bay and the 2016 Nathan E Stewart spill near Bella Bella.
She said that anything more would have to be done between B.C. and the federal government.
Phillips said pipelines are also a safer method of transporting crude oil.
She said that two years ago, a total of 1.2 million metric tonnes of crude was being shipped out of the Port of Vancouver, most of which was being transported via rail.
- With files from Simon Little and Jeremy Lye