British Columbia

Alberta government targets Horgan, high gas prices in new pro-pipeline ad campaign

The province of Alberta is hoping to sway British Columbians with a $1.1 million ad campaign supporting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

30 billboards, as well as newspaper, radio and social media ads, are popping up all over the Lower Mainland

As part of the new campaign, more than 30 billboards are going up around the Lower Mainland, as well as newspaper, radio and social media ads. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The province of Alberta is hoping to sway British Columbians with a $1.1 million ad campaign supporting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

More than 30 billboards are going up around the Lower Mainland, as well as newspaper, radio and social media ads alluding to high gas prices and targeting Premier John Horgan.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage, who travelled to Vancouver to promote the campaign, said it will run until June 18 when the federal government is expected to deliver its decision regarding the future of the pipeline.

"You're paying the highest cost of gasoline in North America here in B.C. and there's a direct link to the Trans Mountain Pipeline. We'll give you much needed relief at the pump. So, we're really going to focus on that message," Savage said.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage unveiled the new pro-Trans Mountain pipeline advertisement on the corner of West Pender and Abbott streets. (Evan Mitsui)

On Thursday afternoon, the price of gas in Edmonton and Calgary hovered at about  $1.05 a litre, while around Vancouver it checked in as high as $1.65.

But passersby didn't seem too impressed with the first billboard. 

One, Clinton Johnson, said Canadians ought to be moving away from the oil industry and looking to greener technology.

"I think it's a dying industry," Johnson said. "I don't really think this [campaign] helps relations between B.C. and Alberta. I mean it's not a B.C. versus Alberta thing. I think it should be considered a bigger global issue."

Emerson Marshall, a full-time student, agreed. He says he can't afford today's gas prices but he'd rather just drive less than see the pipeline built.

"I don't think anyone's going to be swayed [by this campaign] toward being in favour of the expansion," Marshall said. 

The campaign, which the Alberta government is calling "Yes to TMX" comes just days after the unanimous decision by the B.C. Court of Appeal denying the B.C. government's attempt to restrict or prohibit the flow of bitumen through the Trans Mountain pipeline. 

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