Alberta braces for election that could impact B.C. gas prices
Published Monday, April 15, 2019 4:29PM PDT Last Updated Monday, April 15, 2019 7:25PM PDT
As Albertans head to the polls Tuesday in what many consider a high-stakes election focused on jobs and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, British Columbians also have a lot riding on the outcome.
Polls suggest the United Conservative Party’s Jason Kenney is leading while incumbent premier Rachel Notley trails. The campaign trail has been a nasty and rough ride, with Notley claiming the UCP had a racism problem.
Kenney has faced several controversies with a number of candidates under fire for homophobic, transphobic and racist comments. Some NDP candidates have also faced criticism. That has Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi "troubled" about another thread in this election: intolerance. For some he says, that would be a ballot box issue.
But Notley is warning voters about Kenney’s tough stance on the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline and how it could harm Albertans.
"On Trans Mountain, we are this close," she said at a campaign event in Calgary held at a pipeline construction site. "We have come this far through patience, determined action, but Mr. Kenney is prepared to mess it up so he can make headlines."
Kenney has doubled down on threats to enact legislation to "turn off the taps" to B.C.
Notley’s NDP government tabled the bill but never made it law.
Kenney says it would be his first act if elected premier. He’s also vowed to challenge the carbon tax, which is much-hated in Alberta, something that puts him at odds with the federal Liberal government.
"If you want for more years of a Notley-Trudeau alliance, vote NDP" Kenney said at a campaign event Monday. "If you want a government that will fight for a fair deal for Alberta and to get pipelines built, vote UCP."
As for when Kenney might actually turn off the taps, that’s unclear. Still, enacting the law would leave him with an option in his back pocket and serve as a means to bulldoze opposition. It could also send gas prices in B.C. soaring even higher at a time prices in Vancouver continue to smash records.
"Far more than just discussing if it's a 20 or 30 cent increase it will have many motorists scrambling to find fuel," said analyst Dan McTeague of gasbuddy.com. "It will literally bring Vancouver to its knees."
Political analyst David Taras told CTV News a Kenney regime would be problematic for both the federal government and for B.C.
"I think Alberta's relations with BC will again be again, a kind of warfare," he said.
So far nearly 700,000 voters have cast ballots in advance polls.