Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Wednesday she’s not happy with Ottawa’s decision to let a court decision stand that has stalled the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
“First of all, I have to be very clear. Our government does not agree with the decision of the federal government to not pursue an appeal of the original decision,” she said.
Instead of appealing the court ruling, the federal government has appointed former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci to oversee a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities.
Notley said she understands Ottawa’s view that this is the best way to break the logjam over the multi-billion-dollar project aimed at getting more Alberta oil to tankers on the B.C. coast.
“Nonetheless, until that path succeeds, as far as I’m concerned, their job is to keep all options open.
“Or, to put it another way, you don’t lock up your toolbox when you haven’t finished the job. And the job’s not finished yet.”
The Federal Court of Appeal put a hold on the expansion in August and said the government needed to assess the project’s impact on marine life and further consult with Indigenous groups.
LISTEN: Premier Rachel Notley speaks with the 630 CHED Afternoon News
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the government does not intend to start the consultations over again, but will use them to address the weaknesses the court identified.
Notley said the government should keep all options — including an appeal — open.
Meanwhile, Monday’s announcement that LNG Canada will build an export facility in Kitimat is sending mixed messages.
British Columbian workers are expected to be heavily involved in the construction of the LNG Canada project as local workers are expected to jump to the front of the line for jobs. At peak construction, the facility will employ 6,000 people.
“Albertans can be forgiven for being extremely frustrated with the way the federation is working right now.
“Because there is a high level of jaw-dropping hypocrisy that is being demonstrated through that process.”
Watch: While the Trans Mountain saga is a source of frustration for many Albertans, the oil and gas industry should reap big benefits because of the LNG Canada announcement in B.C. Tom Vernon explains.
Notley said the province will be watching how the resumption of consultation with First Nations proceeds.
“If they stick to that February deadline, then we’re going to give it the opportunity that it needs.
“If we start to see those deadlines slip, that is where you’re going to see us engaging every effort that we possibly can to push the federal government. But at this point, we have to let this process play out.”
Another person not happy with the mixed messages around the pipeline? Former Alberta premier Ed Stelmach.
“The messages are: yes, we’re working on it, but then if you look at some of the legislation that’s being passed through the house, the federal parliament, Bill C-69, where you’re going to ban tanker traffic… One doesn’t support the other and that raises a big question in terms of future investment.”
Stelmach was at the official opening of the new Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton on Wednesday.
“We got some good news yesterday with respect to the LNG plant — I hope that goes ahead — but on the other hand, the difference in the policy, the federal government, if you think how many tankers could travel down the throat of the St. Lawrence Seaway and ban everything on the west coast?
“It’s Canada! You know? We’re sea to sea to sea and we’d better keep that in mind if we’re going to grow economically,” Stelmach said.
He said it’s time everyone in Canada got on the same page to work together.
“We’ve had so much parochialism among premiers — ‘This is my province’ and ‘this is what I want’ — but they don’t look to Canada as a whole.”