Alberta to pass Bill 12 Wednesday; Notley ‘prepared to turn off the taps’ over Trans Mountain
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the NDP government plans to pass Bill 12 Wednesday.
“At the end of the day today, Alberta will be equipped with new tools to assert our rights to control the flow of our resources to British Columbia.”
Bill 12, entitled Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act, gives Alberta the ability to retaliate against B.C. if shipment of energy products is restricted.
Once passed, the government would be able to direct truckers, pipeline companies and rail operators on how much product could be shipped and when. Violators would face fines of up to $1 million a day for individuals and $10 million a day for corporations.
Watch below: Premier Rachel Notley said her government has many different leverage points to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built.
Notley said the process, generally speaking, would include having the bill proclaimed, cabinet passing the regulations, issuing licences and having conversations with shippers.
The premier wouldn’t give an exact timeline, but said the entire process could happen “very quickly, within 24 hours” or “it could be a matter or weeks.”
“I’m ready and prepared to turn off the taps,” Notley said.
“We will do whatever is necessary to ensure construction on the pipeline resumes this summer, as scheduled.”
Bill 12 echoes similar legislation passed by Alberta in the early 1980s in a fight with Ottawa over oil resources and profits.
The premier also addressed the federal government’s announcement about the pipeline project earlier Wednesday.
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said if Kinder Morgan wants to abandon plans to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, there are plenty of other investors out there willing to take up the cause.
He also said the federal Liberal government is willing to “provide indemnity” to those investors to ensure the controversial Alberta-B.C. project is able to proceed.
“The federal government took an important step on that matter in announcing that Ottawa will fully backstop the project,” Notley said.
“The federal government has worked with Alberta to eliminate the financial risk to the project brought by the actions of the B.C. government, a key piece of our overall strategy.”
B.C. Premier John Horgan said he is defending the interests of British Columbia by joining two legal cases that are already underway over the project and asking the B.C. Court of Appeal whether the province has the right to protect its environment through a permitting system for hazardous substances that are transported inside its borders.
“We are standing up for British Columbia’s environment, economy and our coast against the threat of a bitumen spill, and we are doing so entirely within our rights,” Horgan said in a statement.
WATCH: ‘Unprecedented day’: Horgan calls Alberta legislation ‘unconstitutional’
He said B.C. has not made provocative statements and it is up to the courts, not Morneau, to determine what is constitutional when it comes to allowing the expansion of a pipeline that ships diluted bitumen through the province.
“The federal finance minister is trying to use our government as an excuse, as the federal government puts taxpayer money on the line to backstop risks to private investors, while completely ignoring the risks to B.C.,” Horgan said. “The fact is, we’ve been issuing permits in a fair and timely manner, and have proposed new regulations that are now referred to court to confirm our jurisdiction.
“We are acting well within B.C.’s rights to defend our environment, and the tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity that depend on it.”
Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the $7.4-billion pipeline project that would twin the existing pipeline between Burnaby, B.C., and Edmonton.
In response to Ottawa’s announcement Wednesday, Kinder Morgan’s CEO said he appreciates that Morneau understands the “uncertainty created by the B.C. government’s stated intentions to ‘do whatever it takes to stop the Trans Mountain Expansion Project’ and the ‘exceptional political risk'” the project continues to face.
“While discussions are ongoing, we are not yet in alignment and will not negotiate in public,” CEO Steve Kean said. “As we have stated, the May 31 deadline for these discussions is necessitated by approaching construction windows, the time required to mobilize contractors, and the need to commit significant new materials orders, among many other imperatives associated with such a large project.”
Watch: The federal government is trying to calm the nerves of investors in the pipeline expansion while the Alberta NDP is setting the stage to “shut off the taps” to B.C. Fletcher Kent reports.
Notley said pipeline opponents have sought to exhaust investors but that approach doesn’t work if it’s backed by Canadian people.
“B.C. does not have this authority. The constitution is clear.”
Notley described Bill 12 as “a tool in our toolbox to help get the job done.”
“Alberta has the right to act in the public interest.”
Watch below: Pro-pipeline protesters gathered outside the conference centre hosting Kinder Morgan’s annual general meeting in Calgary to show their support for the Trans Mountain pipeline project on Wednesday.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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