While the Alberta government is currently going over more potential measures to take against the B.C. government in the ongoing dispute over pipelines, Calgary’s mayor is offering a blunt strategy.
“The right strategy here I believe is to just to ignore Premier (John) Horgan frankly,” he said. “He hasn’t actually announced anything.”
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has already announced banning B.C. wine imports into her province and suspending selling electricity talks with B.C. after Horgan moved to ban increased bitumen imports.
While many opponents of B.C.’s move have argued it could put the Trans Mountain expansion project into serious jeopardy because of delays, Horgan has argued he’s simply consulting with citizens.
If that’s the case, Nenshi says move on.
“As far as I’m concerned, nothing he has said should slow down the construction of this pipeline, full speed ahead,” he said in Ottawa on Thursday at the Big City Mayors meeting. “And I believe that the federal government is starting to make noises in that direction.”
One of Notley’s main arguments is that what B.C. is doing is unconstitutional because it’s trying to impose provisions it doesn’t have: specifically what products go into a pipeline.
That authority belongs to the federal government, which is standing by its decision to approve the pipeline, although Notley has called on the prime minister to take a stronger stance.
But Horgan has said that he won’t be distracted by Notley’s trade attempts and that he does have the law on his side.
“We are currently in court with respect to the Kinder Morgan process, the pipeline, and until we get a resolution from the federal court, that is an option question,” he said this month. “When it comes to our right, my right as the premier, George’s (Weaver) right as the minister of environment to consult with British Columbians about putting in place protections for our environment and our economy, I see no ground for the premier to stand on.”
But Nenshi said the discussion around the pipeline has to take a more global perspective.
During his trip to the Winter Games, Nenshi said he met with a large Korean company that has a refinery which is “perfectly suited” for Alberta crude should there be market access off the B.C. coast.
“Right now they’re bringing in their oil from places like Australia and Saudi Arabia, which is much more shipping costs,” he said. “They are anxiously waiting for the opportunity to accept Alberta crude and that creates a new market of us for 50 million people.
“People are aching for a source of crude that comes from a place with high standards, high environmental, labour and human rights standards,” he said. “We got to get our heads out of our little bubble and understand what’s at stake here.”
Notley said this week she’ll give B.C. “space” as it consults with the federal government over pipelines and won’t impose any additional trade measures while they’re talking.
However, she said she’s keeping her options open.
“There are no options that we are ruling out,” Notley said when asked about further measures, including potentially stopping the current flow of oil in the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
“Part of the point of a strategic rollout of options is to do it on a strategic basis, so I’m not going to speculate about which option will come into play at which time.”