VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – In the ongoing war of words between Alberta and British Columbia on the ethics and sometimes legality of the Trans Mountain pipeline, Premier Rachel Notley said she’s confident in the case for the project.
The B.C. NDP and Greens have agreed to form a likely minority government with Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver saying earlier this week they’ll use every means possible to stop the pipeline, while citing Section 35 of the Constitution as one of those ways.
“Frankly, I think she should get with the program and embrace the 21st century as well,” he said.
The section protects Indigenous rights, but speaking Friday in Calgary, Notley said she’s fully aware of the Constitution.
“I thank Mr. Weaver for his effort to tell me about that, but frankly I was there already,” she said. “We are in a globalized economy and what we need to do is be mature, responsible and thoughtful going forward, so that’s how I respond to that.”
The battle over the pipeline has created a unique party-on-party battle across provincial NDP lines, with B.C. leader John Horgan – who could possibly become premier – stating he’ll use ‘every tool in the toolbox’ to stop Trans Mountain.
Eventually, Notley is going to travel to B.C. to make her case and she was asked how that conversation would go considering the two being on opposite sides.
“When they open the toolbox, they’re going to find that there’s not a lot of tools in there and that they’re perhaps a little rusty and that they’ve actually already been used,” she said. “That’s the kind of conversation that we will have to have moving forward.”
The comments come as the president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs responded to Notley’s infamous ‘mark my words’ comment the project will be built, saying it’ll never see the light of day.
Notley said while there’s certainly some Indigenous communities who oppose the project, there’s also a great deal that are for it.
“There’s not ever going to be absolute consensus along the way,” she said.
On a different environmental topic, Notley was asked about U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent move to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord and if it could hurt Alberta, due to the risk of Canada becoming less competitive with policies like provincial and national carbon taxes.
“I am not at all interested in having President Trump define our public policy agenda in Canada or in Alberta and I’m quite definitive on that,” she said.
Notley said the Climate Leadership Plan, one of the key targets by opposition leaders, was developed with industry regardless of what the United States was going to do with its own policies.
“This doesn’t have really any impact on the competitiveness around the plan because the plan was developed as though the U.S. didn’t follow us anyway,” she said, adding it’s something leaders around the world are going to continue to move forward on.
She also pointed to several U.S. state governors – including California and New York – who have vowed to stick by the accord.