Calgary

Taking Trans Mountain fight to Supreme Court a 'showpiece,' says Notley

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has called a move by the City of Burnaby to take its fight against construction of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the Supreme Court a “showpiece” that has no hope of success.

'He’s going to showboat all he wants and people will judge accordingly,' Alberta premier says

Rachel Notley on pipeline lawsuit 0:34

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley calls a move by a B.C. city to take its fight against Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the Supreme Court a "showpiece" that has no hope of success.

Derek Corrigan, the mayor of Burnaby, B.C., announced the decision on Tuesday.

"If I were a taxpayer in Burnaby, regardless of my position on the pipeline, I would be very irritated to see my mayor throwing good money after bad in terms of a legal fight, which I'm sure every single lawyer who has given him advice has told him they don't have any hope of succeeding in," Notley said Wednesday during an event in Calgary.

"That being said, he's going to showboat all he wants and people will judge accordingly and measure whether that's a good use of taxpayers dollars or not."

The federal government — which has already approved the expansion — has remained quiet on the topic, something Notley said she doesn't find concerning as provincial officials have met with "relevant ministers" in recent weeks.

"We know the federal government is committed to getting this pipeline built, and we've been assured they are working on it," she said. "We know they are still having meetings, both our officials and other folks to come up with the best strategies."

Protests ongoing

Several protests have been held in recent weeks against the $7.4-billion Kinder Morgan project at the company's Westridge Marine and Burnaby terminals.

Protect the Inlet spokesperson Virginia Cleaveland said that on the weekend 58 protesters had been arrested for violating a court-ordered injunction, bringing the week's total to 173 arrests.

Among those arrested were federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May (MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands) and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby South) after entering the court-imposed, protest-free zone around property.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was arrested at a protest against Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

May stood in line with activists at the gate of a Kinder Morgan worksite. She was arrested and released within half an hour.

She later said she had been charged with civil contempt for blocking the road, which is not a criminal offence.

"Neither of those people happen to have an obligation to the executive council or as governors, so they're going to do what they want to do," said Notley. "But at the end of the day, what I know is that when you become government, you have an absolute obligation to enforce the rule of law, and I've never seen any government refuse to do that — NDP, or Liberal or Conservative."

Thousands march together during a protest against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Burnaby, B.C., earlier this month. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Notley said she is not against the protests but expects the "rule of law" to be upheld.

"As I've said before, I think people have the right to demonstrate, we have a right to free speech in Canada, and I would never suggest that would be something we don't respect at all times," she said. "But that needs to happen within the parameters of the rule of law, and we absolutely expect the federal and provincial governments will enforce the rule of law exactly as they should."

There are still a number of other legal decisions pending on the pipeline. Notley says if they rule in Alberta's favour, she expects the federal government will act quickly.

With files from Jennifer Lee