PM determined to build pipeline, tackle climate change despite court ruling

Christopher Davidson
September 3, 2018

Within hours of a bombshell court ruling that cast doubt on the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Premier Rachel Notley said Alberta will withdraw from the federal climate plan until Ottawa gets its act together and pushes the controversial project ahead.

Earlier Thursday, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned Ottawa's approval of the pipeline, which would have doubled the line from Edmonton to the B.C. coast and tripled the amount of oil shipped to fetch a better price on overseas markets.

"This ruling is bad for working families and it is bad for the security of our country, the economic security of our country", Notley said during a televised news conference. "Alberta has done everything right and we have been let down".

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When it was introduced previous year, the carbon tax was pegged at $20 per tonne.

The federal plan requires provinces and territories to put a price on carbon emissions _ through a cap and trade system, a carbon tax or some hybrid scheme - of at least $20 per tonne, starting January 1.

"The time for Canadian niceties is over", said Notley.

Notley also says her government hasn't ruled out acting on legislation it recently passed allowing it to cut oil flows both east and west to drive home the importance of Alberta's bedrock industry to the rest of Canada.

Coincidentally, Kinder Morgan shareholders overwhelmingly approved the pipeline's sale to Ottawa at a meeting Thursday in Calgary, moments after the court ruling.

Liberals remain committed to finding a collaborative way forward with the provinces to tackle environmental issues, said LeBlanc, but they are not flexible on one thing: only major energy projects with proper reviews and environmental protections in place will go forward. It also ruled that the federal government had not fulfilled its duty to meaningfully consult with affected Indigenous groups.

In response Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. announced construction-related activities to twin the existing pipeline would be suspended. She demanded that Trudeau appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court and hold an emergency session of Parliament.

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Alberta's United Conservative opposition leader Jason Kenney has urged Notley to pursue such measures and take a tougher stand with pipeline opponents. All work on the project has now been suspended. "This is after our premier has been running around the province ... high-fiving her colleagues".

"We're going to continue to move forward to get this pipeline built in the right way by acknowledging what the court has said".

"That just shows the naivety of what really happens in politics and nothing is for sure". "You have to make a choice".

The federal government's $4.5-billion purchase of the pipeline and expansion project from Kinder Morgan was finalized Friday.

Notley, on Thursday, said there are quite a few steps between now and a court battle, like Doug Ford and Scott Moe promise and Sohi said, in essence, they'd cross the bridge that's a federal carbon tax imposition on Alberta when they come to it. But, for example, Amarjeet Sohi, the natural resources minister, didn't have a great handle Friday on how the process was going to go from here - the decision's still under review.

Alberta businesses are discouraged by the court decision, said Ken Kobly, president of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce. "It's probably a very frustrating day for a lot of First Nations who are along the route and were in support of it".

Now the issue will no longer be top of mind for British Columbians, Horgan added.

The court case combined almost two dozen lawsuits calling for the energy board's review of Kinder Morgan's project to be overturned.

The court cited a lack of consultation with Indigenous groups and said the regulator, the National Energy Board, failed to address the impact on marine traffic.

"There was no meaningful two-way dialogue", Justice Eleanor Dawson wrote on behalf of the panel.

The expansion, which has sparked anti-pipeline protests, pro-pipeline rallies and an Alberta-B.C. standoff in recent months, will almost triple the line's capacity to 890,000 barrels per day.

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