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Notley pulls out of Western Premiers' Conference

Last Updated May 22, 2018 at 6:56 am PDT

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley updates reporters on the progress of the Kinder Morgan pipeline in Edmonton on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Summary

Just a day before Western Premiers' Conference begins, Alberta Rachel Notley pulls out to focus on pipeline project

'My only priority is to make sure the pipeline gets built': Notley

'Political grandstanding,' says political scientist of Notley's move

EDMONTON (NEWS 1130) – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley will not being meeting with her counterparts at the Western Premiers’ Conference this week.

Her Communications Director, Cheryl Oates, says Notley has decided to stay home to work on securing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion ahead of the company’s end-of-May deadline.

Notey herself also tweeted about her decision to pull out of the meetings, which start on Tuesday in Yellowknife.

Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman will be attending the conference on Notley’s behalf.

The BC Premier’s office says John Horgan will still be attending “he thinks it vitally important to talk with the western premiers about the shared issues that matter to people in BC, making life more affordable, improving the services people count on- Pharmacare being a major one.”

On Friday, Horgan said he didn’t expect any drama over the Trans Mountain pipeline project at the meetings, adding the two have been friends for 20 years and while they have differences on the pipeline, they are in agreement on a number of other matters.

‘Political grandstanding’

Hamish Telford, political scientist at the University of the Fraser Valley, isn’t exactly surprised by this latest development in the pipeline dispute.

“It definitely isn’t because she’s afraid to show up or would expect arguments on pipelines,” he says “I think that this is a case of political grandstanding. She is sort of making a deceleration to her province that she’s fighting for their cause.”

He says with an election in Alberta a year away, the best thing Notley can do is send a message by staying at home and working towards the deadline Kinder Morgan has set.

“She’s under tremendous pressure now from a United Conservative opposition, led by Jason Kenny who if anything has been even harder, tougher on this issue so she wants to show her voters that she’s just as every bit as tough.”

Telford doesn’t believe Notley’s move will add any more pressure to Horgan, adding it will probably make the trip easier for him.

“Now he doesn’t have to face any of the discomfort of meeting face-to-face with a person he’s having a public battle with.”