(Canadian Press)

Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

Alberta says pipeline bottlenecks are kneecapping the industry, costing millions of dollars a day

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he is fighting to both retain and restrict Alberta energy imports because while the existing shipments are vital to his province, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would see the unrefined oilsands oil go somewhere else.

“The proposal to twin the pipeline is not to send more product to the Lower Mainland, but to export to other jurisdictions,” Horgan told reporters after a meeting of western premiers wrapped up Wednesday in Yellowknife.

“There’s a distinct difference between those two things. One is diluted bitumen. The other is gasoline or jet fuel to be used by (B.C.) citizens to move around freely.”

He made the comments after he was asked to explain why his government is going to court to determine if it has the right to regulate heavy oil imports while at the same time trying to stop Alberta from curtailing existing oil shipments to B.C.

Horgan denied a suggestion that his government’s position is selfish.

“Not at all,” he said, stressing that they are two separate issues.

Horgan joined leaders from other western provinces and territories to discuss a range of shared concerns from cannabis legalization and pharmacare to market access.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley declined to go, saying she’s too busy trying to strike a deal to ensure Trans Mountain is built.

READ MORE: Notley to skip western premiers meeting

She sent deputy premier Sarah Hoffman, who declined to sign off on the meeting’s closing statement. Hoffman said Alberta didn’t endorse the document because there was no statement affirming support for Trans Mountain.

She said while she wants to proceed with the issues discussed at the meeting, it is folly to talk about how to spend money while ignoring critical issues on how to raise it.

“Talking about market access without talking about Trans Mountain … is irrational” said Hoffman.

The line, which would twin an existing pipe and triple the amount of oil heading from Alberta to the coast, was approved by Ottawa in 2016, but has hit permit delays and legal challenges from Horgan’s government.

READ MORE: B.C. sues Alberta over bill that could ‘turn oil taps off’

Alberta says pipeline bottlenecks are kneecapping the industry, costing millions of dollars a day.

The pipeline builder, Kinder Morgan, has ratcheted back spending on the $7.4-billion project, citing B.C.’s obstruction tactics. The company says it needs assurance by May 31 that the line can get built.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government and Alberta are exploring a range of options including buying the project from Kinder Morgan or making sure whoever builds it is covered for any losses tied to political delays.

READ MORE: No suitors emerge for pipeline project as Kinder Morgan deadline looms

Horgan’s government has made clear it opposes the expansion over concerns about spills. His government has asked B.C.’s highest court to rule on whether B.C. can cap oil imports.

Alberta has passed a bill to allow it to reduce shipments of oil and other fuels to B.C., which could lead to gas price spikes and other fuel-related hardships. B.C. has filed a suit in Alberta to stop Notley from turning down the taps, saying it violates the Constitution.

Notley told reporters Tuesday that Horgan’s logic is head-spinning — he wants the fuel on one hand, but is trying to keep it the oil out on the other.

Horgan, on a conference call Wednesday with B.C. reporters after the meeting, admitted things have gotten frosty on a personal level with Notley, someone he considers a friend.

“They did invite me to the swearing in of their government,” he said. “I went gleefully and enjoyed myself. Maybe I’m just an acquaintance. It does not really matter. It’s not about me.”

He said the last time he spoke with Notley was in Ottawa in April.

“I think the tone between the two of us is strained,” Horgan said. “This is not personal for me. It’s about my responsibility to make sure that I’m doing my level best to protect our economy, our environment.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ocean “Blob” returns to North Coast of B.C.

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

New school bus ready to go at Chief Matthews Elementary

Students at Chief Matthews Elementary cheered today as a woven cedar rope… Continue reading

Shakeout drill set to test Haida Gwaii earthquake plans

Several schools and public organizations set to join 10:18 a.m. earthquake drill today

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

B.C. jury finds man guilty of Japanese exchange student’s murder

Natsumi Kogawa was found at empty heritage mansion shortly after she was reported missing in 2016

B.C. man accused of killing Belgian tourist along Highway 1 appears in court

Sean McKenzie, 27, made second court appearance since his arrest in connection with the murder of Amelie Sakkalis

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

Trial set for man charged with decades-old murder of B.C. girl

Garry Handlen accused of killing Merritt girl; also charged with Abbotsford murder

Most Read