Alberta premier convinced Ottawa will act soon on Trans Mountain impasse

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley left a meeting Wednesday with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau feeling “more convinced” Ottawa will soon take action on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Federal government considering a variety of options, Alberta preparing next retaliatory move

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley met with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau in Toronto Wednesday to discuss the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (Dean Bennett/Canadian Press)

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley left a meeting Wednesday with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau feeling "more convinced" Ottawa will soon take action on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notley told reporters on a conference call from Toronto that they discussed economic, legal and financial options that open to Ottawa to help break the impasse, but she declined to say what they are.

"I will say that he did assure me the Canadian government plans to take swift action on this file," she said.

Following the meeting, Morneau said he told Notley all tools were on the table. He said the government has been talking to Kinder Morgan but declined to reveal more. 

On Sunday, Kinder Morgan cited opposition from B.C. in announcing its decision to halt all non-essential spending on the $7.4-billion expansion project.

The company said it will consult with stakeholders in an effort to reach agreements before May 31 that could allow the pipeline project to proceed.

The company's decision prompted Notley to announce that Alberta would consider buying a financial stake in the project to keep it alive. 

Limiting shipments to B.C.

The Alberta government continues to threaten economic pain on its western neighbour by introducing a bill next week giving it the power to limit resource shipments to B.C.

Details of the bill emerged through a media report on Wednesday, but government officials and Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd wouldn't confirm they were true.

The report suggests the bill would allow Alberta to limit exports of natural gas, oil, gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel that are shipped through pipeline, rail and truck.

Notley said the bill would deal with how the government issues licences and places conditions on export licences.

"It would allow to direct the export of the product in a way that allows us to get the best price for the product and meet other generalized objectives," she said.

She said that includes limiting where the product goes and how it is transported.

Though some have suggested the federal government could take a monetary stake in the project to end the rift, Morneau would not comment on that possibility Wednesday.

Following an emergency federal cabinet meeting Tuesday in Ottawa, Morneau also wouldn't speculate on whether penalizing B.C. financially — such as by withholding transfer payments — remained an option.

"I'm not going to publicly negotiate with any one of the parties," he said. "Public threats, in my estimation, aren't
helpful."

The federal Liberal government granted approval of the project in 2016.

With files from The Canadian Press