April 30, 2019 10:41 pm
Updated: May 1, 2019 12:01 pm

Jason Kenney cites ‘deep frustration’ as Alberta’s ‘turn off the taps’ law proclaimed

In the hours following Jason Kenney's swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, the new premier published an op-ed in Postmedia. In it, he addressed British Columbians directly, stating his government had officially proclaimed Bill B-12 — also known as the "turn off the taps" legislation — into law. Albert Delitala reports.

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It’s official.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney confirmed in a PostMedia op-ed Tuesday that his government proclaimed Bill 12 (or the Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act,) the so-called “turn off the taps” legislation, in its first cabinet meeting.

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“We will never be afraid to stand up for Alberta,” Kenney states in the op-ed, adding Albertans feel they’re being “blocked and pinned” at every turn and feeling “deep frustration.”

READ MORE: ‘Stay tuned’: Jason Kenney to proclaim ‘turn off the taps’ bill, won’t use it yet

On the campaign trail, Kenney had pledged to proclaim the bill “within an hour” of taking power.

Alberta’s previous NDP government first 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 or used.

Kenney says while the law is now in force, it doesn’t mean that it will be immediately used — but that it can be deployed “should circumstances require.”

“We did not proclaim this law to reduce energy shipments to B.C., but to have the power to protect Alberta’s ability to get full value for our resources should circumstances require,” the op-ed states.

Kenney goes on to note the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has been approved by the federal cabinet and National Energy Board, subject to further Indigenous consultation.

“Unfortunately, since coming into office in July 2017, the B.C. government has opposed the expansion project every step of the way, most recently in the B.C. Court of Appeal,” Kenney writes.

“One province claiming to have the power to block exports from the rest of Canada would undermine one of the principles of our Confederation, the economic union between our provinces.”

Kenney cites a “campaign to landlock Alberta’s resources” which he claimed had resulted in pipeline project failures, high unemployment, bankruptcies and insolvencies.

READ MORE: B.C. downplays tourism fears amid pipeline spat with Alberta, businesses call for cooler heads

“This is not sustainable, nor is it in the national interest,” Kenney states.

“Alberta must have the ability, if and only for so long as needed, to control the export of its natural resources in order to maximize their value, whether through B.C. or otherwise.”

WATCH BELOW: Jason Kenney threatens to stop flow of oil to BC if he becomes premier

Across the Rockies, B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said he didn’t believe Alberta would be able to use the legislation.

“I’m not counting on the premier of Alberta taking an action that we’re quite confident is an unlawful action,” Heyman said.

“If they propose to do that, we’ll certainly go to court to propose the principle that they can’t discriminate against British Columbia on energy. ”

READ MORE: Jason Kenney promises to make Vancouver carbon-free in 2020 — by turning off the gas taps

B.C. has already tried to challenge Bill 12 as unconstitutional. However, last year a judge rejected the suit, telling the province that it could not challenge a law that was not yet in place.

Industry analysts have predicted using the law could push Metro Vancouver’s already surging gas prices above $2 per litre.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby issued a statement on Tuesday night about the Alberta government’s proclamation of the bill.

“We have been concerned about the constitutionality of that legislation since it was introduced in Alberta’s legislature,” the statement read. “Our government is prepared to challenge it through the courts.”

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.

WATCH BELOW: Global News coverage of Alberta Premier Kenney’s “turn off the taps” proclamation.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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