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Alberta premier says he's proclaimed turn-off-the-taps law but won't use it on B.C. yet

Newly sworn-in Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he's proclaimed into law NDP legislation that would allow the province to restrict oil and gas shipments to B.C., but won't use it just yet.

Province wants 'power … to get full value for our resources,' Jason Kenney says in op-ed

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, right, will have his first face-to-face meeting with BC Premier John Horgan, as part of the annual Western Premiers' meeting in Edmonton (CBC/Reuters)

Newly-sworn-in Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he's proclaimed into law NDP legislation that would allow the province to restrict oil and gas shipments to B.C., but won't use it just yet.

  • Watch live at 9:30 a.m. MT as Jason Kenney holds a news conference about Bill 12

Kenney wrote in an op-ed in the Vancouver Sun that Bill 12 was proclaimed into law on Tuesday during the government's first cabinet meeting, shortly after he and his cabinet were sworn in.

"We did not proclaim this law to reduce energy shipments to B.C., but to have the power to protect Alberta's ability to get full value for our resources should circumstances require," he wrote. 

The op-ed, titled "Premier Jason Kenney to British Columbians: 'We will never be afraid to stand up for Alberta'" was the lone announcement of the bill's proclamation.

Kenney has scheduled a Wednesday morning news conference to discuss the bill along with Energy Minister Sonya Savage. 

Bill 12 requires exporters to obtain licences, and gives Alberta's energy minister the power to decide how much fuel is exported, how it's transported — by pipeline, rail or tanker truck — and whether direct shipments should be stopped altogether.

It was introduced by the NDP and was given royal assent last year but had not yet been proclaimed.

Kenney had said during the campaign that he would proclaim the legislation during his first cabinet meeting to pressure B.C. to co-operate with Alberta in getting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built, but on Tuesday morning he said he won't use the measures in the bill right away.

"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."

B.C. prepared for legal challenge

B.C. Attorney General David Eby said earlier this month that the province will seek an immediate injunction if Kenney uses the legislation.

"We have been concerned about the constitutionality of that legislation since it was introduced in Alberta's legislature. Our government is prepared to challenge it through the courts," Eby said in an emailed statement Tuesday evening.

Neither Kenney's office nor that of B.C. Premier John Horgan were immediately available for comment. 

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