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Notley says B.C. shouldn't hold Alberta economy 'hostage' over Trans Mountain

Last Updated May 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm MDT

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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is warning B.C. politicians of overreaching in their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion as final election results in the province continue to roll in.

Notley made the comments Tuesday after Alberta was granted intervener status in Trans Mountain lawsuits, allowing it to defend itself and industry against litigants like B.C. municipalities and First Nations.

The premier said in Edmonton she respects the opinions of those against the project.

“But I fundamentally disagree with the view that one province or even one region can hold hostage the economy of another province, or in this case, the economy of our entire country,” she said. “It’s not how we do things in Canada in practice, and in my view, in the law.”

It’s a fascinating case of party versus party, as the B.C. NDP have been vehemently opposed to the project, while the B.C. Liberals have been in favour, as certain conditions were met.

“We will use every tool in our toolbox to stop the project from going ahead,” B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan’s platform said.

But Notley sees it very differently.

“It’s our view that there are no tools available for a province to overturn or otherwise block a federal government decision to approve a project that is in the larger, national interest,” she said.

The federal government has certain powers in the Constitution Act, which allow it to push through major projects despite certain provincial opposition, and has been used to build things like railways.

While the B.C. Liberals hold a small minority, it’s the B.C. Green Party that hold the balance of power with three seats.

“Prime Minister Trudeau has betrayed the trust of British Columbians,” B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said of the Trans Mountain approval in November. “The approval of this project is completely contradictory to this government’s rhetoric at the Paris climate talks, as well as their commitments to finally embrace a new era of reconciliation.”

Notley said it would be inappropriate to reach out to any of the B.C. leaders as final results continue to pour in, but once they’re settled, she’ll reach out as soon as possible.

As for the opposition parties’ opposition, Notley said they have to take more measured approaches.

“If I were to come into government and I was told, ‘you don’t really have the authority to do this, you can overreach if you want, but sooner or later, someone’s going to tell you you’re overreaching,'” she said. “I suspect that regardless of the combination, the permutation of people that end up earning the right to govern in B.C., all three of them would come to that conclusion.”

Despite the difference in opinion, Notley said there is room to have conversations and soften their opposition.

The $7.4-billion expansion would triple Kinder Morgan’s oil capacity to 890,000 barrels a day and get achieve the long-sought goal of getting Canadian oil to tidewater.