Alberta Premier Rachel Notley took aim Tuesday at pipeline opponents in British Columbia who, in her words, would harm "working people" in their quest to block oilsands development and exports.
"Some say that to fight climate change, we have to leave our energy industry — and those working people who live in it — behind," Notley said in a speech to the Stampede Investment Forum, an annual gathering of international and local investors in Calgary.
"To them, I say any climate plan that ignores our energy needs and the working people associated with it is not a plan."
Her comments come as a fellow NDP premier is about to take power in British Columbia, one who may prove to be more of a political challenge than an ally.
John Horgan will be officially sworn in as the 36th premier of British Columbia on July 18, as part of an alliance between the NDP and Green Party. Their combined MLAs hold a one-seat majority in the legislature.
The B.C. Liberal minority government of Christy Clark fell in a non-confidence vote in June and the province's lieutenant-governor then asked Horgan to form a government.
Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver has been an ardent opponent of the expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline and, in announcing their alliance, both he and Horgan said they would use every tool they can to stop the project.
Notley said that would be a mistake
'Albertans care about climate change'
The Alberta premier also defended her province's environmental record and her own government's steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions through a carbon tax and other measures.
"Albertans care about climate change .. and that's exactly why our climate leadership plan is the most forward-looking and aggressive and fulsome anywhere in North America," she said.
"We're reducing methane. We're phasing out harmful coal emissions. And we've capped oilsands emissions, which means — and this is really important — it means the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline will not lead to higher oilsands emissions."
Drawing applause from the audience at one point, the premier said climate action and pipeline expansion are not an either-or proposition and there is a way to "bring together" both goals.
"That is why the twinning of this pipeline is so important, not only to our economy but also to our ability to generate the jobs and wealth we need to chart a better, greener, healthier future," she said.
"I believe that is worth fighting for, and I am going to keep on fighting for it."