Alberta signaled Thursday it’s prepared to escalate its fight with British Columbia over the Trans Mountain pipeline by cutting off oil exports if obstruction of the $7.4 billion expansion continues.
The drastic option is both a throwback to the past and a sign of things to come: regardless of who wins power in the next Alberta election in just over a year, which is expected to be hotly contested thanks to the re-unification of conservatives led by Jason Kenney, expect the province to be more aggressive to protect its interests.
In the NDP government’s speech from the throne Thursday, Rachel Notley said the province intends to do whatever it takes to end British Columbia’s pipeline blockade.
“Some people have asked how far we are willing to go,” Alberta Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell said in the speech, which had the flavour of a campaign platform as Notley enters the final stretch of her four-year term.
“Today, we affirm we will do whatever it takes. In the past, when workers in our energy industry were attacked and when the resources we own were threatened, premier Peter Lougheed took bold action,” Mitchell said, referring to the late premier’s 15 per cent reduction of oil flows in the early 1980s to eastern refineries to retaliate against the federal government’s National Energy Program.