British Columbia

Alberta's new premier says he won't turn off the taps to B.C. right away

Bill 12 was passed by the previous NDP government but never proclaimed into law.

Jason Kenney says he'll keep his promise to proclaim Bill 12 but won't cut oil transport 'at this time'

Alberta's new premier, Jason Kenney, campaigned on a promise to proclaim legislation cutting off the oil and gas supply to B.C. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

Jason Kenney was sworn in as Alberta's premier Tuesday morning, and said he still plans to move ahead with proclaiming a bill that would squeeze the supply of oil and gas to B.C.

But Kenney said he won't use the measures in Bill 12 right away. The legislation was passed by the previous NDP government but never proclaimed as law.

"We will obviously keep our electoral commitment to proclaim Bill 12, just stay tuned," Kenney told reporters.

"But I've been clear it's not our intention to reduce shipments or turn off the tap at this time. We simply want to demonstrate that our government is serious about defending the vital economic interests of Alberta."

During the election campaign, Kenney had promised to proclaim the bill during his first cabinet meeting as premier. That meeting was set for Tuesday after the new government was sworn in, but Kenney declined to say what was on the agenda, citing cabinet secrecy.

If proclaimed, the bill would create a licensing scheme for oil and gas suppliers, giving Alberta's energy minister the power to decide how much fuel is exported to B.C., how it's transported and whether direct shipments should be stopped altogether.

The provisions in the legislation are meant to be used as leverage against B.C. if the province continues to stand in the way of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.