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Alberta launches ‘keep Canada working’ campaign

Premier Rachel Notley answers reporters’ questions during a news conference at the Alberta legislature in Edmonton on Monday, February 12, 2018. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

by Craig Gilbert | publisher@fitzhugh.ca

B.C. Premier John Horgan steered for what he would probably call the high road and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley stepped on the gas days after corking the flow of West Coast wine.

Notley said on Feb. 6 her intent to stop imports of British Columbia wine came in response to Horgan’s plan to limit the amount of diluted bitumen transferred to tidewater from the oilsands, and was designed to draw Ottawa’s attention back to the issue.

One week later, she called on all Albertans to join the “fight” and sign a petition calling on Horgan to respect the “rules of Confederation.” The petition is posted at alberta.ca/KeepCanadaWorking.

“We need all of us working together to make sure the B.C. government fully understands why this pipeline matters, why good jobs matter and why the rules of our country matter,” she said in an email titled new tools to keep Canada working. “This fight, it isn’t something any one government can do alone.”

Her coastal counterpart said last week his government has pile of priorities to place ahead of a provincial trade war, scuttling speculation of a tit-for-tenderloin ‘berta beef ban.

In the days since, Kinder Morgan Canada’s president, Ian Anderson, and Yellowhead MP Jim Eglinski have spoken up.

“it’s important to point out that we’ve been shipping diluted bitumen for 30 years,” Anderson wrote in an op-ed circulated to media. “There is an extensive body of work already completed on the subject, and a thorough examination of the pipeline and products being shipped was part of the reviews already completed. In fact, there are conditions on the Project from both the National Energy Board and the BC Environmental Assessment Office related to diluted bitumen.”

He said the NEB devoted a chapter to the behavior of oil, including diluted bitumen, and a thorough review of the extensive scientific studies, modelling and research on the subject.

Eglinski said Tuesday that Canada is forced to sell Alberta oil at discounts of up to half only to have it resold to the country at market rates through refineries in New Brunswick. He laid the blame for the conflict between B.C. and Alberta at the feet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who he accused of failing to show leadership in a statement emailed to media on Feb. 13.

He said the Conservatives requested an emergency debate on the Trans Mountain pipeline project last week, but were denied. They tabled a motion on Monday aimed at pressuring the Liberals into declaring the pipeline a government priority. It wasn’t clear before our press deadline whether the House had adopted it.

“Although the Minister of Natural Resources claims he will not accept any unusual or unnecessary delays, construction should have started in November 2017,” Eglinski wrote. “Every day is a delay worth millions of dollars. Every day is a delay for thousands of jobs.”

 

__Workers and Communities are Waiting on the Sidelines

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project is the most thoroughly reviewed project in Canadian regulatory history. It has undergone unprecedented scrutiny for the last six years and set a new standard for review of energy projects in our country. We’ve met every standard, followed every process and exceeded the requirements.  

In January 2017, the Province of BC granted our Project an environmental certificate and confirmed that it had met the Province’s “Requirements for BC to Consider Support for Heavy Oil Pipelines”, this following a five-year National Energy Board (NEB) regulatory review, and a hearing process that lasted 29 months. The federal government approved the expansion and they have been actively balancing the interests of the economy and the environment, while working to address Indigenous reconciliation. Their Oceans Protection Plan will invest $1.5 billion to improve marine safety, shipping and the marine environment.

Trans Mountain has respected and continues to follow applicable regulatory requirements for the Project. However, the BC Government’s January 30, 2018 announcement about diluted bitumen raises questions of both fairness and intent.

Our Project was deemed to be in the National interest.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure that Canada and BC is seen as a fair and attractive place to do business. Excessive delays and politically-motivated red-tape not only affect Trans Mountain, they impact the future of our energy industry and all other major infrastructure projects trying to get built in Canada.  

Workers, communities, Indigenous groups and local businesses are excited to get to work and are waiting for Project construction to begin. There are some 3,500 individuals and 3,400 businesses who have signed up to let us know they want to be a part of the Expansion. Each one of these businesses will create family-supporting jobs and contribute to the economic success of their community and the country.

We have contractors ready to get shovels in the ground. We have Canadian steelworkers in Saskatchewan ready to manufacture pipe. We have Indigenous groups waiting to share in the success of the Project, including new jobs and training opportunities. But, until we’re allowed to move forward, these workers are waiting on the sidelines.

In response to the Government of BC’s announcement, and on the topic of diluted bitumen, it’s important to point out that we’ve been shipping diluted bitumen for 30 years. There is an extensive body of work already completed on the subject, and a thorough examination of the pipeline and products being shipped was part of the reviews already completed.  In fact, there are conditions on the Project from both the NEB and the BC Environmental Assessment Office related to diluted bitumen. In its report on the Project, the NEB devoted a chapter to the behavior of oil, including diluted bitumen, and a thorough review of the extensive scientific studies, modelling and research on the subject.

Trans Mountain knows protecting the environment is paramount, and we are committed to doing so.  We understand the concerns raised about pipeline safety, tanker traffic, spill prevention and emergency response, and that’s why we’ve carefully developed measures to protect communities and our ecosystems.  During our 65 years of operating in BC and Alberta, we’ve worked with governments at all levels to ensure the legislation, regulation and policy overseeing the shipment of oil and oil products are world-class.

Like any industry or business it’s vital for Trans Mountain to know there’s a predictable, reasonable and timely process to allow approved projects like ours to proceed for the benefit of all Canadians.

-Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada

____________________________________________________________________________  

Kinder Morgan’s Pipeline

Oil is being sold at up to 50% discount to the United States because we do not have anywhere else to sell it. The U.S. sells it back to Canada through New Brunswick refineries at the full market price.

The regulation of interprovincial pipelines falls under federal jurisdiction. The Trans Mountain Pipeline has passed environmental reviews and regulatory hurdles.  It was approved by this federal Liberal Government.

The project is under serious threat as the dispute between British Columbia and Alberta continues to escalate – putting Canadian jobs across the country at risk.  British Columbia’s celebrated vineyards and wineries will lose business as Alberta restricts imports, and the deteriorating relationship between the two provinces threatens a deal that would give Alberta access to clean, renewable BC energy.  This cannot continue.

The Trans Mountain expansion is in the national interest.  It will create tens of thousands of jobs, add billions to the economy, and help fund important social programs.

Where is the Prime Minister on this?  He should be championing this federally approved pipeline. Due to a lack of federal leadership, this dispute continues to escalate, putting Canadian jobs across the country at risk.

Although the Minister of Natural Resources claims he will not accept any unusual or unnecessary delays, construction should have started in November 2017. Every day is a delay worth millions of dollars. Every day is a delay for thousands of jobs.

Last week, Conservatives requested an emergency debate on the Trans Mountain pipeline project. This request was denied.

 

On Monday, February 12, our ‘Opposition Day Motion’ called on the Prime Minister to prioritize the construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and use all tools at his disposal to mitigate damage from the current interprovincial trade dispute.  If this motion is adopted, the Liberals will have until noon on February 15th to table their plan in the House.

Conservatives believe that the independent, scientific, evidenced-based decision-making process that the Trans Mountain Expansion project went through clearly showed that the pipeline could be expanded safely.

 

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It is unacceptable that instead of championing the Trans Mountain pipeline project and promoting the benefits that it would bring to communities across Canada, ‎ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chose to pile on new regulations, creating additional obstacles for Canadian energy projects.

The dispute between Alberta and British Columbia has escalated solely because Justin Trudeau has failed to show leadership and stand up for Canada’s natural resource industry and the jobs that depend on it.

It is time for the Prime Minister to show leadership and take action to resolve this situation before we pay the price in lost jobs and opportunity.

Our Conservative Party will continue to call on the Prime Minister to show leadership and take action to resolve this situation. He must start taking this seriously, return to Canada, and get control of the situation.

 

Jim Eglinski, MP – Yellowhead February 13, 2018

 

This afternoon Shelley Cook, BC NDP candidate for Kelowna West, shared her support for Premier John Horgan and the BC NDP government’s stance against economic pressure from the Alberta government to abandon plans for a consultation on ensuring the safety of BC’s lands and waters.

“I applaud the strong statement of support Premier John Horgan made earlier today to protect BC’s wine industry,” said Shelley Cook. “I’m proud of our world-famous wine industry and of the BC NDP government’s commitment to consult on the best ways to protect our lands and waters. I hope the Alberta government makes the choice to pursue a resolution to this disagreement in the court system, rather than on wine store shelves.”

Standing up for BC grape growers and wine producers

“There are thirteen wineries in Kelowna West, and hundreds more in the Okanagan Valley and across British Columbia. Our grape growers and wine producers depend on a government that supports their industry, helps attract new tourism dollars, and protects the land, water, and air that makes their world-class product so remarkable.

“At the same time, British Columbians depend on a government that stands up for their right to make informed decisions on issues that impact our economic and environmental future. Right now the BC NDP is doing both of those things, and I am proud to stand with them.”

 

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