Notley announces task force in response to Alberta-B.C. pipeline kerfuffle

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced Friday she's creating a task force to firm up what measures could be taken in response to B.C.'s proposed restrictions on diluted bitumen shipments.

Members include former N.B. premier Frank McKenna, former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced Friday she's creating a task force in response to B.C.'s proposed restrictions on diluted bitumen shipments. (CBC)

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced Friday she's creating a task force to firm up what measures could be taken in response to B.C.'s proposed restrictions on diluted bitumen shipments. 

Notley said former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan, former Syncrude Canada president Jim Carter and legal scholar Peter Hogg will be among other "recognized national leaders" on the task force.

She said it will look at the economic and legal impacts of B.C.'s proposal, as well as how to persuade the province to allow pipelines to reach tidewater.

"This is a national conversation, so we need to continue to ensure it occupies the nation's attention as a topic of conversation," the premier said Friday, addressing steel workers at Tenaris Prudential, an energy supply company in Calgary.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke to steel workers at Tenaris Prudential in northeast Calgary on Friday. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Notley said there was no specific timeline or date set for the task force's first meetings, but she said she's spoken with individual members of the group and that she expects engagement on the issue to unfold over the following days and weeks.

The B.C. government said last week that it's considering restrictions on diluted bitumen shipments from Alberta to the coast until more environmental response studies are conducted to assess the impact of spills.

Alberta quickly responded by suspending talks to buy B.C. electricity, and then halted the import of all wine from B.C. through the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.

Notley said Friday that anything that would result in a delay of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, whether due to regulations or the suggestion of future regulations, would be unacceptable.

"We just can't sit by, because the consequences are too great for this matter not to be addressed fully," she said.