Manitoba premier calls for ‘de- escalation’ in Alberta-B.C. pipeline dispute

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says increasing regional tensions and economic uncertainty over the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline project should be defused as quickly as possible.

Pallister’s comment comes one day after the Alberta government announced it’s banning wine from British Columbia because of B.C.’s plans to limit how much diluted bitumen can be shipped from its coast.

Pallister says in a statement that he has promoted open trade among the provinces and he’s concerned about the controversy in the energy sector and the resulting provocation and threats at the provincial level.

He notes that both the National Energy Board and the federal cabinet approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in 2016 after determining it was in Canada’s national interest.

Notley conceded on Tuesday that the ban on B.C. wine may violate interprovincial free-trade rules, but said Alberta is moving ahead anyway.

B.C. Premier John Horgan has said the issue is about his government’s responsibility to keep the coastline and inland waterways safe.

“This uncertainty is decidedly unhelpful to economic development in Western Canada and for the general well-being of the Canadian federation,” said Pallister’s statement Wednesday.

“Whether it’s a pipeline or a transmission line, markets and investors need certainty. They don’t react well to either overlapping processes or backward steps.”

(Companies in this story: TSX:KML)

The Canadian Press

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