(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

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation celebrates new water system

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna cuts cedar ribbon at Ty-Histanis event.

Ucluelet RCMP searching for alleged liquor thief

Police have released a photo of the woman and are asking for the public’s assistance.

Reflecting Spirit offers tapestry of West Coast stories

Gallery showcases Tofino and Ucluelet artists.

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Foul play not suspected in man’s death in Chemainus

Long attempt made to revive unidentified person on the dock

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Most Read