Ahead of Trudeau meeting, Kenney calls environment bill a threat to unity

Alberta Premier is Sworn-In With a MitzvahCOLlive – Community News Service

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

"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.

Kenney has said he hopes never to use the law.

Canada will exempt some oil sands projects from federal environmental assessments as long as Alberta maintains a cap on oil sands emissions, draft regulations from the federal government said on Wednesday.

The United Conservative leader had promised repeatedly during his campaign that if he was elected he would stop sending oil to B.C. for the west coast province's opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. An additional order restricting oil shipments to the West Coast would be hard to implement and painful under the circumstances, but Goodman said the oilpatch isn't concerned "at all" because companies are desperate for a new pipeline.

Goodman also said he's not concerned about Kenney's approach to negotiating with B.C. Premier John Horgan on the need for the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.

Horgan said they'd spoken Tuesday night, and agreed to keep lines of communication open. On Wednesday the government released new details of which projects would be scrutinized under the proposed Bill C-69.

"We are serious about it".

"If needs be, we will do what is necessary to preserve the value of our resources and to stand up for our workers", Kenney said. When asked why he hasn't begun screwing shut those taps, he explained that he's agreed to talk further with Horgan.

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"I will be very clear with the prime minister, that if this bill and Bill C-48, are adopted in anything like the current form, that this will be inflaming a growing national unity problem in Alberta, and will be a body blow to our country's prosperity", he said.

Horgan has been grilled on what he can do to reduce costs for British Columbians in recent weeks and suggested on Wednesday the existing Trans Mountain pipeline could ship more refined products to Vancouver.

Andrew Wilkinson, the leader of the B.C. Liberal Party, called for Horgan to cut fuel taxes. Similar amendments have been requested by industry associations, including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.

Alberta's new law would face a challenge from this province and fail, said Joel Bakan, a constitutional expert with the University of B.C.

Eby said the province believes the law is unconstitutional, because a provision in Canada's Constitution prevents the restriction of flow of refined products between provinces.

Others describe the legal showdown as a sideshow.

The law will have a more profound psychological effect in British Columbia where commuters are now paying the record-high gasoline prices, Gas Buddy senior petroleum analyst Dan McTeague said.

"The process must look after the environment", Sohi said. He stopped short of specifying what actions might prompt his government to pinch B.C.'s energy supply, however.



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