Pipeline outlook unswayed by B.C. vote: Notley

CALGARY — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the uncertain outcome of the British Columbia election should not change the fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notley supports the $7.4-billion project proposed by Texas-based Kinder Morgan to triple the amount of crude that flows from the Edmonton area to the B.C. Lower Mainland.

The federal government approved the project late last year, so Notley doesn’t believe a political shift in Alberta’s western neighbour is much of a factor.

“Our view is that the federal government is the government that has the decision-making authority and we look forward to supporting their work going forward,” she said Friday in Calgary, where she was announcing provincial funding to upgrade the bobsled, luge and skeleton track at Canada Olympic Park.

The B.C. election earlier this week left Christy Clark’s Liberals just shy of a majority with 43 seats, but recounts and absentee ballots could change the final tally.

The NDP won 41 seats and the Green Party holds the balance of power with three seats.

The B.C. NDP’s campaign platform promised to use “every tool in the toolbox” to stop the Trans Mountain project from going ahead, but did not outline how.

In announcing his blessing for the Trans Mountain expansion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the Notley government’s efforts to combat climate change through a carbon tax and other measures.

Notley said she does not see Trans Mountain suffering the same fate as the defunct Northern Gateway project, which was granted federal approval in mid-2014.

A court reversed that approval of the Enbridge-led project on the grounds Ottawa failed to adequately consult indigenous communities. Trudeau killed it for good on the same day he announced Trans Mountain’s approval. He also gave the green light to another proposed pipeline project to the U.S. Midwest.

“Obviously the courts are going to do what they’re going to do, and that’s their job,” Notley said.

“But I feel pretty confident that the process behind Kinder Morgan was pretty solid. And of course the case for the economic value of Kinder Morgan not only to Albertans, but also to British Columbians and ultimately to all Canadians, it is exceptionally strong.”

The Alberta and B.C. New Democrats are at odds when it comes to Trans Mountain.

Notley declined to endorse B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan and warned her staff not to campaign for him because of his stance on the pipeline, seen as key to the long-term health of the oilsands industry and to Notley’s political prospects.

Horgan downplayed the rift on the campaign trail by saying the two politicians agreed to disagree.

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