Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Alberta unveils legislation created to cripple BC citizens

Alberta unveils legislation created to cripple BC citizens

The Alberta government has introduced legislation that would give the energy minister power to restrict the flow of oil, gasoline and natural gas leaving the province.

Those who transport energy products without a licence could face fines of up to $1 million a day for individuals and $10 million a day for corporations. The bill passed the First Reading on Monday.

Bill 12, titled "Preserving Canada's Economic Prosperity Act", gives the Alberta government the ability to retaliate against the B.C. government for any delays to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, including driving up gas prices, and restricting exports to the province that would include gasoline, oil, diesel and natural gas.

With both Alberta and Saskatchewan now threatening to "turn off the tap", potentially starving B.C. of oil and gas, a fuel industry expert says British Columbians should brace for pain at the pump.

Notley says the move is not created to punish B.C. for delays in the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but that Alberta is "very committed to putting pressure on B.C.to come around and focus on what this pipeline actually means".

Kinder Morgan recently suspended most work on the pipeline amid the intense political uncertainty, saying it would drop the project if the parties fail to resolve their differences by May 31. According to the National Energy Board, most of the gasoline used in B.C. comes via the existing Trans Mountain pipeline.

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Kinder Morgan announced it was halting non-essential spending on the project and said it would give the federal government until the end of May to reassure investors that the pipeline would be completed.

Trudeau met with Notley and Horgan on Sunday and said Ottawa has joined negotiations with Alberta to buy a stake in Trans Mountain, if necessary, to see that it gets built.

"We believe they have no legal authority to do so and if they do that, we'll examine what legislation they bring in and if we believe it's flawed legally, we'll certainly take them to court", said B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman.

Notley suggested May 31 will be key if the viability of the pipeline project is still in question. This is something totally new because, in the past, firms were not required to get permits to ship or deliver energy products. "Obviously May 31 is now a date that looms quite significantly in that consideration".

Alberta is building on precedent.

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