Alberta premier proclaims bill to ‘turn off taps’ in newspaper op-ed


The law, introduced by the NDP a year ago but not formalized, gives Alberta the tools to to choke off oil exports to B.C. if it feels the western province is obstructing the beleaguered Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Sohi said the government wants to get good projects built with sound environmental protections.

"We did this to have the power to protect Alberta, to protect our ability to get full value for our resources", he said. Environment groups largely approve the proposed changes in Bill C-69 but industry experts fear it will drive a stake through the heart of new investments in Canada's energy industry.

"British Columbians are now facing a gasoline crisis, paying a ridiculous $1.70 a litre in metro Vancouver", Kenney said.

The Preserving Canada's Economic Prosperity Act would "ensure the interests of Albertans are optimized before authorizing the export of natural gas, crude oil or refined fuels".

"The mere fact that it has been proclaimed provides a lot more leverage in terms of negotiations at a time when there is little doubt Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and British Columbia are suffering through - particularly in Vancouver, the highest prices ever recorded in North America", he said.

When asked by reporters if he would bargain with the federal government, perhaps swapping B.C. approval for the Trans Mountain expansion for more gasoline coming down the existing pipeline, Horgan said he wouldn't negotiate in public.

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The NDP introduced Bill 12 last April as Alberta fought with B.C. over the Trans Mountain expansion.

Premier Jason Kenney speaks beside Energy Minister Sonya Savage, left, about Bill 12, the turn-off-the-taps legislation, during a news conference in the media room in the Alberta legislature in Edmonton on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Horgan said he spoke with Kenney by phone after the law was proclaimed. On Wednesday, she called Kenney's move "political posturing". However, the expansion project has been hit with numerous delays - including court challenges and rulings brought on by environmentalists and the B.C. government.

The two also expressed disappointment that Kenney was stirring up national-unity questions, calling that "irresponsible".

He urged Alberta to work with B.C. on this. Alberta has 20 days to file a statement of defence related to the second court challenge. But he refused to take the blame for spiking prices at the pumps or to apologize for fighting Alberta's bid to "impair trade" between B.C. and Alberta by fighting its new "turn off the taps" law in court.

Alberta's NDP, the new official opposition, said proclaiming the bill as law without using it was like accidentally detonating a missile on a launch pad before firing it - because proclaiming the law gives B.C. the opportunity to challenge it. Oil sands mining projects will be included on the Bill C-69 "project list".