EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley wants everyone to mark her words: the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will go ahead to deliver her province’s oil to the West Coast and jobs to British Columbia.
Notley says she doesn’t believe it makes much difference who is running B.C., because the federal government has already approved the Kinder Morgan (TSX:KML) project.
“The decision has been taken,” she said Tuesday when asked about the pipeline as she was announcing a new hospital for Edmonton.
“It’s been taken by the federal government. It was taken by a federal government that was committed to balancing and driving towards two goals at the same time: environmental sustainability and economic growth on behalf of the whole country.”
The premier said her NDP government will continue to advocate on behalf of all Canadians’ economic interests to get the pipeline done.
“And mark my words: that pipeline will be built. The decisions have been made … There may be debate, but at the end of the day we’re quite confident in the strength of our position.”
She said the pipeline is in the best interests of Albertans and all Canadians — but especially to British Columbians.
“Quite honestly the province of B.C. can’t grow solely on the basis of escalating housing prices in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. They need stronger economic growth and the reality is that in Interior B.C., they need the jobs that this pipeline will provide.”
The future of the pipeline, which would nearly triple the capacity of an existing line running from Edmonton to Burnaby, is in question given a co-operation agreement between the B.C. New Democrats and Greens, which could lead to an NDP minority government. Both parties have voiced opposition to the project.
Notley said governments that care about working people put good jobs front and centre and ”there, I know, we ultimately share a number of values with the emerging leadership in B.C.”
Alberta has long argued that it needs a pipeline to get more of its oil to the West Coast and from there to overseas markets.
Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Greens, called Notley’s comments ”classic fear-mongering.”
He said promises of pipeline jobs aren’t based in fact and pointed to a promise by the B.C. Liberals of a liquefied natural gas industry.
“The idea that somehow a pipeline in a market where it doesn’t exist is going to create jobs in British Columbia is nothing more than a myth,” Weaver said.
“We’ve heard this before — 100,000 jobs in (liquefied natural gas), $100-billion prosperity fund, $1-trillion increase in GDP, elimination of the PST, debt-free B.C. Unicorns in all our backyards.”