Notley stresses 'urgency' of resolving Trans Mountain delays

One day after a visibly frosty photo opportunity with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke in Calgary about the urgent need for federal action on the currently stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Alberta's premier said it's time for Ottawa to deliver solutions

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley did not look pleased during a photo opportunity as she met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Edmonton on Wednesday to talk about next steps on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

One day after a visibly frosty photo opportunity with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke in Calgary about the urgent need for federal action on the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

"We, and the industry, are trapped on a regulatory merry-go-round, and only the federal government has the tools and the authority to bring it to a permanent stop," Notley said Thursday, following a meeting with her Market Access Task Force.

'I'm talking weeks, not months. We need clarity,' says the Alberta Premier. 7:23

The group is made up of ministers and deputy ministers as well as industry representatives, former government officials and academics. 

She also met with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers earlier in the day.

Plan coming in weeks, not months: Trudeau

"There's no question the mood was, I would say, tense and concerned," Notley said.

"We must find a solution to this problem quickly … this is a matter of investor confidence."

Notley said that since a Federal Court of Appeal ruling halted work on the Trans Mountain pipeline last Thursday, she has yet to hear of a finalized plan from the federal government that will get the project moving — but Trudeau assured her one would be coming in the following weeks, not months.

"A week has passed and we need clear answers from the federal government as quickly as possible."

In the wake of the ruling, she pulled the province out of the federal climate plan.

Notley said Thursday she was always up front that Alberta's participation in the climate plan was conditional.

She said while the government does have an obligation to make progress on environmental protection and combating climate change, getting the pipeline built is part of that package.

"We know that we must do the work that the constitution tells us to do as it relates to consulting with and accommodating the concerns of Indigenous people, [but] that does not mean we have to talk until 'yes,'" Notley said.

"There are a bunch of ways that the legislation can be changed to address the environmental concerns without kickstarting a whole new hearing process. And that's what we're worried about."

The Trans Mountain expansion project would triple the capacity of the existing line, which takes oil products from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C.

Alberta says the project is critical and it is losing billions of dollars a year because the oil currently shipped to B.C. is sold at a discount to a captive market in the United States.

The Power Panel discusses the meeting between Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau. 9:53

Tense meeting between leaders

In stark comparison with past meetings, the tension between Trudeau and Notley in Edmonton on Wednesday was apparent as they made brief statements to the media before their closed-door session.

When she left less than an hour later, Notley was asked by reporters how the meeting was.

"It was," the premier said.

Notley said Thursday she would still like an appeal of the federal decision, but she's not sure it's the best chance of getting the project moving quickly ahead.

"What we are pleased with is that there are a lot of officials on this file and we are getting an increasing level of responsiveness from people in Ottawa about it," Notley said.

"Now the question is do they act fast enough and in a way that meets the needs of working people across this country fast enough."

With files from Drew Anderson, The Canadian Press.