Alberta premier slams Burnaby mayor for ‘political interference’ in Trans Mountain dispute
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley remains confident shovels will be in the ground before the end of the year on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after Friday’s court victory.
On March 23, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled it will not be hearing B.C.’s application for an appeal.
Back in February, the City of Burnaby also filed an appeal on the same matter.
The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project would triple the amount of oil products flowing from Alberta to B.C.’s coast.
The federal government approved the $7.4-billion expansion in 2016, but the project faces significant opposition in B.C. by environmental groups and the provincial government.
Thousands of people have been rallying to protest the project and Premier John Horgan has raised concerns about the pipeline’s possible environmental and economic impact.
Anti-pipeline protesters are continuing to demonstrate near Kinder Morgan’s terminal. Dozens of people followed Indigenous leaders in a march toward a gate to the Burnaby Terminal on Saturday, with 172 people being arrested over the past week.
While there are still other court battles ahead, Notley said the federal court’s decision Friday to dismiss the B.C. government’s attempt to overturn a National Energy Board ruling against the City of Burnaby is “another step forward to market access, the national climate plan and a strong Canadian economy.”
She said to date, Alberta has won every case against Trans Mountain.
Notley said the City of Burnaby’s refusal to issue proper permits and certificates for pipeline work to proceed was soundly struck down.
“What we saw was the NEB said: ‘Nope. This is not cool.’
“That’s sort of a perhaps a summing up — a very folksy summing up — of the NEB decision. Then, the Federal Court of Appeal said: ‘It’s so not cool we’re not even going to listen to arguments about whether it’s not not cool.'”
Notley says there are other cabinet decisions of both the Trudeau and Christy Clark governments that are being appealed in federal court, that she says her government is confident will also lead to rulings in Kinder Morgan’s favour.
Alberta’s premier was also critical of the way the mayor of Burnaby is conducting himself during this dispute. Arrests are being made at the terminal and yet he’s refusing to pay policing costs.
“The mayor of Burnaby is stumbling into some pretty irresponsible areas,” she said on Monday.
“If he were allowed to sort of carry on that path, it’s a very, very slippery slope towards political interference and the administration of justice.”
She expects costs will eventually be ordered in court to be picked up by Burnaby.
Meanwhile, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan says he’s “not getting down in the gutter” with Notley.
“She tends to radicalize many of the points of view,” Corrigan said.
“She’s utilizing things like her commitment to not buy wines from B.C. — it’s totally unrelated to the issue that we’re dealing with and shows a level of political immaturity.”
Corrigan said it’s very important to maintain the quality of the debate, noting it should be done with “dignity.”
He said the public should lose faith in the federal government for pushing the project through.
— With files from Emily Lazatin, Ria Renouf and The Canadian Press
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