Alberta Premier Notley unveils high-profile task force to counter B.C. ‘attack’

CALGARY — Premier Rachel Notley has unveiled a task force she says will defend Alberta jobs from B.C.’s “unconstitutional attack” on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, but she wouldn’t give details on exactly what the high-profile group will consider or when they will act.

The task force is the latest salvo in Alberta’s increasingly militant response to a call last week by the B.C. government for more consultations on oil spill readiness and a limit on increased diluted bitumen shipments until it’s confident in response measures.

The move is seen as an attempt by British Columbia to delay and hamper building of the $7.4-billion pipeline expansion to triple its Alberta oil shipments to the West Coast, even though the line has been approved by the federal government.

On Tuesday, Notley announced Alberta will no longer import British Columbia wines, ending trade that added up to $72 million worth of B.C. wine last year. The province has also said it won’t negotiate to import B.C. electricity.

The task force members include former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan, former Syncrude Canada president Jim Carter and legal scholar Peter Hogg.

The premier unveiled the initiative on a tour of a steel plant in south Calgary that makes steel tubing for oil and gas wells.

“We’re going to keep this fight going until this pipeline gets built,” she vowed, drawing scattered applause from the employees.

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