Alberta minister sorry for calling B.C. 'a bunch of s***heads'
Published Thursday, March 15, 2018 5:29PM PDT Last Updated Friday, March 16, 2018 4:06PM PDT
An Alberta cabinet minister is apologizing for a vulgar characterization of the B.C. government amid an ongoing battle over bitumen.
The Edmonton Journal reported Deron Bilous, minister for economic development, told a crowd Wednesday that "B.C. is being a bunch of s***heads."
Bilous's comment came after weeks of tension between Canada's western provinces over the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Alberta and B.C. cooled a budding trade war that put local wineries in the crosshairs, but both say they're not backing down.
The following day, he told reporters that his frustration with B.C. politics led him to make the comment, but agreed that his words went too far.
"I should've used more diplomatic language and for that I did apologize, and I am sorry, but our stance on the pipeline has not changed," he said Thursday.
B.C.'s environment minister re-iterated the province's stance that the battle should be fought in court.
"We've tried to stay calm and we've tried to continually say if there's a disagreement about constitutional authority, the courts are the place to have that discussion. I think calm heads need to prevail here," George Heyman said.
Bilous's harsh words came a week after the Alberta premier threatened to limit oil shipments out of her province if B.C. delays the $7.9-billion pipeline project. Rachel Notley said the Kinder Morgan expansion is vital to Alberta and the rest of the country, and that bottlenecks with the project are also delaying the start of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue.
Last month, Alberta announced a boycott on B.C. wines over its western neighbour's proposal to limit the amount of oil that will flow through the pipeline carrying crude and refined oil to Canada's coastline. Notley retracted the booze ban by the end of February, after the John Horgan Government announced it would seek clarification on the legality of its opposition in court.
"I am confident that the court will not give B.C. rights it does not possess under our constitution," she said at the time.
Earlier in the ongoing dispute, Alberta cut off talks to purchase $500 million worth of electricity from B.C.
Notley suggested her province would also consider some type of action involving oil and natural gas shipped from Alberta to B.C. About 44,000 barrels of gasoline and 47,000 barrels of diesel are shipped to the province each day, about 20 per cent of the total amount produced.
About a quarter of Alberta's marketable natural gas is exported to B.C., 17 per cent of which is used by the province. The remainder is shipped to the U.S.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan and The Canadian Press