Newly sworn-in Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is pledging to go ahead with signing so-called “turn off the taps” legislation into law, but says he won’t be using it just yet.
During the provincial election campaign, Kenney promised to proclaim Bill 12, written as a response to B.C. government opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, “within an hour of being sworn in.”
WATCH: Kenney would use turn-off-the-taps legislation against B.C.
Answering reporters questions after his swearing-in on Tuesday, Kenney said the bill would be in effect soon — though he had no immediate plans to curtail shipments of gasoline to B.C.
“We will obviously keep our electoral commitment to proclaim Bill 12, just stay tuned,” Kenney said.
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“But I’ve been clear it is not our intention to reduce shipments or turn off the tap at this time. We simply want to demonstrate that our government is serious about defending the vital economic interests of Alberta.”
Continuing court actions by B.C. cities and its provincial government to block the Trans Mountain project, or to restrict the transportation of bitumen through British Columbia, have fueled anger in economically struggling Alberta.
WATCH: Coverage of Bill 12 on Globalnews.ca
The Alberta NDP passed Bill 12 — legislation to direct truckers, pipeline companies and rail operators on how much product could be shipped and when — last spring. However, the bill was not proclaimed into force or used.
Making use of the legislation was one of Kenney’s key talking points on the campaign trail, with the candidate at one point bombastically promising to create a “carbon-free Vancouver by 2020.”
Industry analysts have predicted using the law could push Metro Vancouver’s already surging gas prices above $2 per litre.
B.C. attempted to challenge Bill 12 as unconstitutional last year. However, the suit was rejected because the judge said the province had to wait until the law was in force.
Earlier this spring, B.C. Attorney General David Eby said the province was ready to head back to court should Alberta bring the bill into force.
Kenney and Alberta’s new energy minister, Sonya Savage, are scheduled to discuss the proposed “turn off the taps” legislation with reporters in Edmonton at 9:30 a.m. MT on Wednesday.