Kenney calls assessment bill a threat to unity ahead of Trudeau meeting

Alberta Premier is Sworn-In With a MitzvahCOLlive – Community News Service

Kenney now says he won’t ‘turn off the taps’ to B.C., yet

Kenney brought his message to members of the Senate committee on natural resources this morning and argued Bill C-69, which would overhaul the country's regime for assessing large resource projects, would be disastrous for Alberta's energy dependent economy.

"The mere fact that it has been proclaimed provides a lot more leverage in terms of negotiations at a time when there is little doubt Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and British Columbia are suffering through - particularly in Vancouver, the highest prices ever recorded in North America", he said.

"I speak here as a federalist, please do not put upon further ... alienation amongst Albertans who feel like we just can't get a fair deal", he said.

He stood beside his new energy minister Wednesday, warning that he's ready to use newly enacted "turn off the taps" law at any moment.

All of them, including Kenney, said the amendments have to be made as a package.

Kenney said the UCP needs the power to protect "Alberta's ability to get a return on their resources", and that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is in the interest of all Canadians.

By proclaiming Bill 12, Kenney is going against the advice of the previous NDP government.

"Unfortunately, since coming into office in July 2017, the B.C. government has opposed the expansion project every step of the way, most recently in the B.C. Court of Appeal".

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"We are prepared to use tools like this if there is ongoing obstruction", he added.

The Preserving Canada's Economic Prosperity Act would "ensure the interests of Albertans are optimized before authorizing the export of natural gas, crude oil or refined fuels".

The list, released for public comment Wednesday, says new in-situ oilsands projects, ones where steam and drilling are used to extract bitumen from deep underground, won't have to go through the federal review process as long the hard cap of 100 million tonnes of annual greenhouse-gas emissions imposed by former Premier Rachel Notley stays in place.

As for Kenney's promise to cut off the supply altogether, legal and political experts question whether that will happen.

She said she advised Kenney about the issue during a meeting at Government House last week for the transition of power.

The Calgary Court of Queen's Bench will hear B.C.'s application at 10 a.m. on May 7. Many had become mired in court challenges under the existing system.

Both parties are also waiting on a decision in a reference case B.C. filed in April 2018.

The legislation, dubbed the "turn off the taps" act, was passed but not enacted by the province's previous, left-leaning New Democratic Party government past year in retaliation for British Columbia opposing the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. But he refused to take the blame for spiking prices at the pumps or to apologize for fighting Alberta's bid to "impair trade" between B.C. and Alberta by fighting its new "turn off the taps" law in court.

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