Rachel Notley came out of the West with all guns blazing. At a lunch-time speech in Ottawa, the normally affable Alberta premier said the Canadian government is “wilfully” holding Alberta’s economy hostage because of its inability to follow through on its constitutional responsibility to transport resources across provincial boundaries.
The lack of a pipeline to the ocean has constrained the ability to diversify markets and resulted in the current crisis – 10 buck a barrel Canadian crude, she said.
That predicament is costing the country $80 million a day, she said. It is resulting in job losses in Alberta and explains why Justin Trudeau was met by 2,000 protesters in the streets of Calgary last week, a spontaneous eruption of anger that persuaded people “to drop what they were doing and flood the streets…people aren’t going to take it,” she said.
The problems facing the Trans Mountain pipeline, now owned by the federal government but stymied by a Federal Court of Appeal decision, are compounded by other federal government actions (or inactions) – the environmental assessment legislation, C-69, which is currently before the Senate; the tanker moratorium off the northern coast of British Columbia, and the failure to increase take-away capacity by buying rail cars.
Notley said she had asked Trudeau to join her government in buying rail cars to ship an additional 120,000 barrels a day. “The federal table should be at the table on this. There’s no excuse for their absence. (But) Alberta will buy the rail cars ourselves to move this oil,” she said. “We’re not wasting any time.”