B.C. buckles up for fractious relationship with new Alberta government
British Columbia is bracing for a contentious relationship between the NDP government and the newly elected United Conservative Party (UCP) government in Alberta.
B.C. Premier John Horgan spoke to UCP premier-designate Jason Kenney on Wednesday morning.
“Our brief conversation was constructive and focused on issues that matter to both Alberta and British Columbia. We agreed to talk about challenges in the days ahead,” Horgan said.
“I look forward to further conversations and working together in the interests of both of our provinces.”
The challenges ahead could be substantial, but Horgan joked on Wednesday morning the pair have become “fast friends.”
The politicians are opposed on the issue of the Trans Mountain pipeline and Kenney has vowed retribution for B.C. standing in the way of the federally owned project.
At a campaign rally in Edmonton last Friday before the province’s election, Kenney renewed his promise to “turn off the taps” of gasoline to British Columbia “within an hour” of being sworn in as Alberta premier.
Experts are skeptical of the feasibility of this plan.
Horgan, who has has consistently been opposed to the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline, is hopeful that Kenney backs down from his rhetoric.
“Elections are high rhetoric and hyperbolic language,” said Horgan.
“My responsibility is to deal with the government the people put in place.”
The pair will meet in person in Saskatoon this summer as part of the Council of the Federation meetings. Kenney has also promised to scrap Alberta’s carbon tax.
“We are going to act according to the best interest of Alberta. The job of the Premier of Alberta is to defend our vital economic interests and for me that means demonstrating to the government of British Columbia and other provincial governments that we need business,” Kenney said.
“I think Premier Horgan knows very well that we are serious about defending our economic vital interests. I’ve always said it is not our intention to begin with reducing energy shipments to B.C. but to have the power to do so.”
WATCH: Jason Kenney threatens to stop flow of oil to BC if he becomes premier
Kenney has also floated the idea of inspecting trucks moving goods from B.C. east through Alberta. The premier-designate said because Alberta is a rat free province they have the right to inspect vehicles to see if the rodents are on board.
The measure could cause major headaches for B.C. truck drivers and delay the shipment of goods.
“We are looking forward to working with the new government of Alberta. We want to work with all our western partners and all our partners in Canada to make sure like is good for people in British Columbia and all across Canada,” Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said.
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