Alberta to restrict oil, gas to neighbor in Canada pipeline row

Sean Kilpatrick  CP                       Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Lima Peru

Canada's Alberta province on Monday edged closer to cutting off fuel shipments to neighboring British Columbia in an escalation of a row over the stalled C$7.4 billion ($5.9 billion) expansion of the Kinder Morgan Canada Trans Mountain pipeline.

The project - which would triple the pipeline's capacity to carry Alberta's oil sands to port in Vancouver - is fiercely opposed by British Columbia's government, ecologists and indigenous groups who warn of a possible environmental disaster in the event of a leak.

Kinder Morgan Canada said it had no comment on the bill, though company CEO Ian Anderson said in February that the company wouldn't look to shut off supplies along the pipeline because it was impractical and not commercially feasible.

"We know, as I'm sure they know, that the constitution forbids discrimination around energy between provinces", Eby said. The expansion of the pipeline, which extends from Alberta to the B.C. coast, is desperately needed by oil-rich Alberta, which wants to export more of the crude it produces.

In explaining what would justify her government's use of legislation introduced Monday, Ms. Notley said the deadline laid out by the Texas company might be one inflection point for the Alberta government to take action.

At the same time, the stakes rose for pipeline protesters as prosecutors said charges would be upgraded from civil to criminal, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, said in a statement that the pipeline will never be built.

The two western provinces have proposed legislation to restrict fuel exports as the dispute over the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline deepens.

On Sunday, following an emergency summit between Prime Minister Trudeau, Notley and Horgan, it was announced that both Alberta and the federal government are in discussion with Kinder Morgan on a plan to take a public position in the project to reduce risk to Kinder Morgan shareholders, should the project continue to suffer delays.


The government has dismissed the possibility of a Supreme Court reference, and Carr added Monday that the project was already approved by the B.C. government - though it was the Liberal government that Horgan's NDP defeated in last year's provincial election.

Kinder Morgan Canada has given the federal government until May 31 to provide the "clarity" in needs to proceed, and has warned it may pull the plug on the project.

"It's a grand pretext. It's a con job", she said.

The latter has been apparently necessitated by B.C. Prime Minister John Horgan's attempts to find a way that asserts the province as the ultimate authority when it comes to environment, even though B.C. opposition lawmakers believe such an attempt is doomed.

Carr disagreed that the government is being blackmailed.

"They're on the verge of having to make very important financial decisions about how much to invest in the project. But it will be up to British Columbians and all Canadians to ask themselves if this is an appropriate investment of tax dollars". And certainty clearly is important to them.

"We do not have a hydro project in Labrador that would need that access through Quebec transmission".

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