Rachel Notley is not going down without a fight.
After more than two months of inter-governmental tension between British Columbia and Alberta – kick-started on January 30 with BC’s announcement that they would be restricting the amounts of bitumen that could be transported through its shores – the fight has seemingly come to a head.
Kinder Morgan Canada Limited, the company overseeing the hotly-contested Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project, stated in an April 8 release that it would be suspending all non-essential spending on the project.
The decision from Kinder Morgan comes amid increasing uncertainty over whether or not the project will be able to reach completion, particularly given how opposed John Horgan’s freshly elected provincial government has been on the issue.
Rachel Notley issued a statement shortly after Kinder Morgan’s, and made it clear that the Alberta provincial government would be doing everything in its power to make the expansion happen – even if that means becoming an investor.
“Alberta is prepared to do whatever it takes to get this pipeline built – including taking a public position in the pipeline. Alberta is prepared to be an investor in the pipeline,” Notley said.
Kinder Morgan has set a May 31 deadline for a final decision on if the project will continue, giving the federal and provincial governments just under two months to come to some sort of an agreement. During that time, the company will also be consulting with its stakeholders about the project’s future.
Notley’s statement also included a word or two for Horgan and his government:
“First, Premier Horgan believes he can harass this project without economic consequences for his province. He is wrong. We will be bringing forward legislation in coming days giving our government the powers it needs to impose serious economic consequences on BC if its government continues on its present course,” she said.
“Second, Premier Horgan believes he can harass the investors and managers of Kinder Morgan, that they will give up, and that this will kill this project. He is wrong here as well.”
Following Kinder Morgan’s announcement, Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr made a statement calling on BC to suspend their threats to delay the pipeline.
“We are strongly encouraging the government of British Columbia to stop these indirect threats,” he said on Sunday.
He also made it clear that the federal government would be willing to take action against the government of BC, though did not specify exactly how they would be proceeding.
“All options are on the table for the Government of Canada,” he said. “We’re not ruling anything out.”
As for Horgan, a statement made by the premier on April 8 explained that BC is willing to have a discussion regarding the pipeline expansion, but that it would not be stepping down on the issue.
“We believe we need to grow the economy, while protecting the environment. We want to work to address these challenges together,” he said.
“But we will always stand up for British Columbians, our environment and the thousands of jobs that depend on our coast.”
Notley, on the other hand, ended her statement on a somewhat more straightforward note.
“This pipeline will be built.”