On April 15, 2018 the Prime Minister hosted a trilateral, closed-door meeting between himself, the Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, and our Premier, Rachel Notley, to hash out some sort of way to move forward on the Trans Mountain Pipeline. This was a significant moment for Canada (Prime Ministers rarely call meetings to resolve disputes amongst provinces), and Albertans expected something significant to emerge from this meeting (construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline is critical to the economic future of Alberta).
So what’s happened since then?
Well, heading into the meeting, Premier Notley promised Albertans legislation that would give the Alberta government the authority to “turn off the taps,” thereby limiting Alberta’s oil and gas exports to British Columbia. The NDP made good on their promise to bring forward a bill giving them that authority, but they appear to be misleading Albertans about their intent to use this legislation.
Forget the fact that this legislation was needed last year, when the BC NDP first came to power with the goal of harassing the Trans Mountain pipeline to the point that its proponent, Kinder Morgan, just cuts their losses and walks away, which, of course, would be disastrous for Alberta’s vital economic interests and Canada’s reputation as a destination for investment. The NDP wasted precious time underplaying the threat posed by Horgan’s government and their determination to obstruct this project.
Following the trilateral meeting, Premier Horgan made quite a revealing comment that has gone largely unnoticed in Alberta. Despite all the tough talk from Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Notley, Horgan offered a candid assessment of the meeting that doesn’t jive with what our Premier and Prime Minister are saying.
Horgan told Global News in British Columbia the following:
“The Prime Minister said quite unequivocally that he had no intention of threatening British Columbians when it came to transfer payments or any other joint projects that the federal and provincial governments are working on,” said Horgan. “When I asked premier Notley what her intentions were she said their legislative session is very brief and they were going to bring in enabling legislation and they didn’t necessarily think they were going to act on it.” GlobalNews.ca, April 15, 2018
This is quite a discouraging appraisal of an important meeting from Premier Horgan.
Think about this for a second. The purpose of this historical meeting was to enforce the idea that the government of British Columbia does not have the right to obstruct a federally approved pipeline, like Trans Mountain. Yet, the Premier of British Columbia emerged from that meeting more confident than ever that Alberta wasn’t going to act on its threats.
Compounding the problem of the Alberta NDP’s inaction is the fact that Trudeau also emerged from that meeting promising “legislation to ensure that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is completed.” Yet we still have not seen anything from the federal government to this effect.
Kinder Morgan has given notice that it will walk away from Kinder Morgan on May 31. Since then we’ve seen nothing but empty rhetoric from governments of Premier Notley and Prime Minister Trudeau. With fewer than 4 weeks to go to that deadline, the NDP has yet to pass legislation that, according to Premier Horgan, it does not intend to use, and Trudeau still has not introduced his legislation that, we were told, he intends to use.
This is political theatre of the worst kind. Alberta’s economic future hangs in the balance, while governments at different levels try to out boast each other with empty threats. Albertans deserve better than these cheap theatrics.