Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he’ll stand by Alberta if the province decides to restrict oil exports to pressure British Columbia to abandon its opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
Moe said he would “absolutely” encourage Rachel Notley, his Alberta counterpart, to cut off domestic exports of its oil.
“If the fuel tanks start to run dry because Premier Notley has turned the tap off, it won’t be Saskatchewan filling them up,” the premier told CBC Radio’s The House.
Though Saskatchewan isn’t connected to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, the delays in getting the $7.4 billion expansion completed are affecting rail shipments of grain and other products in and out of the province because a lot of oil is moving by train, Moe said.
In early February, B.C. Premier John Horgan proposed restrictions on bitumen shipments that would flow through the expanded pipeline from Alberta to the West Coast. In response, Premier Notley pulled Alberta back from purchasing hydro power and wine from its western neighbour.
B.C. is asking the courts to decide if it has the power to limit how much diluted bitumen can flow through pipelines in the province.
The war escalated a few weeks later when Notley floated the idea of cutting oil shipments from Alberta entirely.
Though the issue revolves around the two westernmost provinces, Moe said he’d back Notley if she decided to cut oil supplies to any market.
“I think she can turn them off to wherever she has access to until we ensure that this pipeline that has been approved by our federal government is starting construction.”
Federal government slow to intervene
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to stand his ground on the expansion, saying it will be built.
“We’re just going to reiterate that the decision we made was in the national interest and we’re going to move forward with that decision, which means we’re going to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built,” he said.
But there has been no action since that statement in February — and words alone aren’t enough for Notley.
She has said Trudeau should explicitly tell B.C.’s government that its attempts to stall the pipeline expansion are unacceptable, and should be ready to intervene if necessary.
“If Canada wants to present itself to the world as a country that is capable of creating jobs and attracting investments, then it needs to be able to present itself as a country that, when a decision is made, people can count on it to be implemented,” Notley said.
“The federal government does need to step up. This is their responsibility.”