Notley gives B.C. days to back down before escalating trade dispute
Published Monday, February 12, 2018 2:24PM PST
Last Updated Monday, February 12, 2018 3:35PM PST
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has promised to pump the brakes on her developing trade dispute with British Columbia – but not for long.
On Monday, nearly a week after announcing her ban on B.C. wine imports, Notley told reporters she's giving the federal government some time to reason with her West Coast neighbours on the thorny issue of Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion.
"We're prepared to give them a little bit of time to talk," Notley said. "We've gotten the attention of federal officials. I think they are definitely working at trying to find a solution, and they know we're serious."
But if B.C. Premier John Horgan doesn't walk back some of the language his government has used about a potential block on additional bitumen shipments , Notley said she will be escalating the dispute sooner than later.
She suggested her good graces will last "days, and not much more than that."
It's unclear whether the next steps might include more bans on B.C. goods, and Notley would not elaborate on the options she's considering.
"All I will say is there are other tools that we have at our disposal that will turn the temperature up and volume up," Notley told reporters.
Late last month, B.C.'s environment minister announced the province would be gathering public feedback about a number of potential pipeline-related regulations.
The sticking point for Alberta was a reference to a possible ban on increased bitumen shipments, suggested as a means of limiting risk to the province's coast until "there is certainty regarding the ability to adequately mitigate spills."
Given that the National Energy Board has already approved the pipeline, Notley and other pipeline supporters have characterized the announcement as a threat to violate Canada's constitution.
"It's completely unconstitutional. It's a made up authority, it's a made up law, but the very act of threatening it brings about an outcome," she said, calling
"They've got to stop talking about their ability to do something which is illegal."
Prior to the wine ban, Notley suspended talks on an electricity deal that would bring an estimated $500 million into B.C. government coffers annually.
Horgan and his environment minister, George Heyman, have since defended their plans for public consultations, which the premier noted have not even begun.
Despite calls for a retaliatory ban on Alberta beef, Horgan has also so far pledged to ignore Notley's provocation.
"Our government has every right to consult with British Columbians on the best possible measures to protect our lands and waters from the potential impacts of diluted bitumen spills," Horgan said in a statement last week.
The two premiers haven't spoken since Notley announced her wine ban, but both have been discussing the pipeline issue with officials from the federal government.