CALGARY — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is shrugging off a tweet by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore that slams Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and calls the province’s oilsands dirty.
Remarks like that are having an ever-shrinking impact, Notley said.
“When those kinds of comments are made and they clearly demonstrate a lack of understanding about the overall issue and all the facts, I just think it’s starting to fall on a larger and larger number of deaf ears,” Notley said Friday at the grand opening of a new maternity unit at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary.
Gore tweeted Thursday that he stands with B.C. Premier John Horgan, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and all Canadians — including First Nations — opposed to the project.
“The Kinder Morgan pipeline carrying dirty tarsands oil would be a step backward in our efforts to solve the climate crisis,” he wrote, along with the #stopKM hashtag.
Tarsands is a term favoured by industry opponents.
Notley said public opinion polls are showing growing support for the $7.4-billion project, which would triple the amount of crude shipped from the Edmonton area to B.C.’s lower mainland along an existing pipeline route.
“We’re also seeing… previously less vocal people come forward now, saying ‘No no, this is good. We do need to stand up for this. We do need to make our voices heard.’”
Opposition United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney called Gore’s remark “an inconvenient lie from a jet-setting millionaire.”
“While the USA & OPEC countries ship more oil, this hypocrite who owns multiple mansions & flies private jets wants to landlock Canadian oil,” Kenney tweeted Thursday. “Canadians have had enough of your campaign of double standards & defamation.”
Notley reiterated Friday that she’s confident talks aimed at getting construction of the pipeline expansion back on track will be successful before a May 31 deadline.
Alberta and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government are in discussions with the company to strike a joint financial arrangement to ensure the project gets built. Trudeau’s government approved expansion of the Trans Mountain line in 2016, but the B.C. government has been fighting it.
Last month, Kinder Morgan stopped all non-essential spending on the project and said it wants assurances by the end of this month that the expansion can proceed.
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