Calgary

Nenshi calls B.C.'s proposed restriction on bitumen shipments a 'dangerous stunt'

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi weighs in on the pipeline dispute between Alberta and B.C.

'I am strongly behind Premier Notley on whatever she does to push this,' says Calgary's mayor

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi weighed in on the pipeline dispute between Alberta and B.C. on Thursday. 1:21

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi weighed in on the pipeline dispute between Alberta and B.C. on Thursday, calling the B.C. government's proposed restriction on bitumen shipments "a dangerous stunt" and "political pandering of the worst kind."

"I am strongly behind Premier Notley on whatever she does to push this," Nenshi said at a media scrum on Thursday.

"It is time for us to show our strength. I'm also calling on the federal government to come together and assert their responsibility and their jurisdiction in this matter and ensure that we do not hold up the economy of all of Canada and safe, clean Canadian energy for political reasons in one province."

It is time for us to show our strength.- Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

On Tuesday, B.C. proposed regulations to restrict shipments of diluted bitumen until more oil-spill response studies are done. If the regulation passes, it will restrict the development of new oilsands pipelines to B.C.'s coast, like the construction of the planned Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Nenshi said the B.C. government should think about what the price of gasoline would be in the Lower Mainland without Alberta oil, and that lost access to that oil could mean more oil and gas tankers in Burnaby's port.

"So doesn't it make more sense to build our nation and achieve our energy use at the same time?" he said.

Notley suspends talks to purchase electricity from B.C.

Premier Rachel Notley reiterated her plans to pursue legal action against B.C. in a news conference Thursday afternoon.

She also announced that she's sending a letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan to formally suspend all talks to buy electricity from B.C. Hydro. She said the deal was worth $500 million a year.

"This is just a first step," Notley said. "We are prepared to do what it takes to get this pipeline built. Whatever it takes."

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said on Thursday that B.C. is "taking a run at the authority of the federal government" by proposing regulations that could prevent the construction of the already delayed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he stands with Alberta in favour of the already-delayed Kinder Morgan project, but Notley called on the federal government to intervene and clearly assert that B.C. cannot make decisions about pipelines that cross borders or go into national ports. 

"This is not an Alberta/B.C. issue. This is a Canada/B.C. issue," she said.

Saskatchewan's premier-designate Scott Moe has also waded into the dispute, saying Saskatchewan would stand with Alberta in any actions against B.C.'s decision.

The pipeline expansion would nearly triple the existing pipeline's capacity, up to 890,000 barrels per day.

There's a path to compromise for Alberta, B.C., says political scientist

Lori Williams, an associate professor of political science at Mount Royal University, says the "quick, decisive rejection of B.C.'s move" should resonate both on the streets of B.C. and in the legislature.

"This may generate a defiant response in the short term, but may open a path to compromise when various economic and political interests come into play," Williams said.

"B.C. wants to sell electricity to Alberta and to continue enjoying the benefits of reciprocal trade. Alberta wants access to markets in a timely, and an environmentally sustainable way. Neither province wants to risk the losses associated with adversarial relations. And both need a win going into their next elections."

She said the negotiations going forward will test the leadership and communication skills of all parties involved.

With files from Scott Dippel