Notley skips premiers conference so she can focus on pipeline deal

Vaughn Palmer

Vaughn Palmer Published

Chamber CEO and Mulroney-era cabinet minister Perrin Beatty will launch the last-minute lobbying blitz with a mid-morning press conference, which, as per the advisory, will be "followed by a series of meetings" with MPs and senators to convince them to "take the necessary steps to get TMX built".

With that deadline looming, B.C. business leaders flew to Edmonton last Thursday to show their backing for the project, which would almost triple the flow of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands and increase tanker traffic sevenfold.

Yesterday, the Upper House gave its third reading approval to his bid to declare the project to be in Canada's general national interest, which is now in the queue to be added to the Commons to-do list as soon as he can find an MP willing to sponsor it.

Indeed, last week the US environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), warned Kinder Morgan that the pipeline project, could be "illegal" under the US Endangered Species Act, which is seen as one of the world's strongest species protection laws.

Notley says she is not attending the conference because her time is better spent making sure the pipeline project goes ahead, and that the government is close to some important decisions before a May 31 deadline set by pipeline owner Kinder Morgan.

The Government of British Columbia filed Tuesday the statement of claim-after it had threatened to do so last week-in Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench, arguing that the "Preserving Canada's Economic Prosperity Act" recently passed by Alberta violates the Canadian Constitution in the part that prohibits any law that is a tariff or whose goal and essence make it "tariff-like". The court challenge was filed about two weeks later.

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Horgan contends Canada has jurisdiction to build the pipeline but that he can regulate what flows into his province within the pipeline.

Notley noted that B.C. would be able to source oil and gas from Washington, but it would drive up prices for consumers.

Leo de Bever, now chairman of Nauticol Energy, told BNN Bloomberg on Thursday that the Trudeau government has to take away some of Kinder Morgan's risks if it wants the $7.4-billion project to proceed.

"It's not just about the spills, it's not just about the orcas", said Graham Clumpner one of the paddlers with the Mosquito Fleet: "The bigger issue that we are all facing is climate change", he said.

Export Development Canada will finance the purchase, which includes the pipeline, pumping stations and rights of way along the route between Edmonton and Vancouver, as well as the marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C., where oil is loaded onto tankers for export. Investors would then be responsible for the pipeline's construction.

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