Alberta premier heads into Ottawa pipeline meeting with no intention of backing down
'There's only one outcome for Alberta,' Rachel Notley says
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she has no intention of backing down when she meets Sunday with the prime minister and B.C.'s premier to discuss the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
"We will go there in good faith to listen to what everyone has to say, and to make our case," Notley told reporters at the Alberta legislature Thursday. "But, you know, as far as negotiations, deals and that sort of thing, there's only one outcome for Alberta.
"And that is that the pipeline gets built, construction starts this year and that we move forward, as we should be."
The prime minister's office announced earlier in the day that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would return to Ottawa from Peru for the meeting on Sunday, before heading off to Europe.
B.C. Premier John Horgan told reporters in Victoria that the dispute between Alberta and his province should be resolved in the court.
United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney called on Notley push the prime minister to levy some financial consequences by withholding money from the B.C. government.
"Ask the prime minister to, at the very least, be prepared to make some of these federal transfers conditional on the completion of the pipeline," he said.
'Certainty' needed, Kenney says
Kenney said Kinder Morgan's shareholders need firm assurances from Horgan that his government will drop its opposition to the project and respect federal jurisdiction.
"My expectation is we'll see some vague news release about working together and continuing to communicate," he said. "And if that happens, that's not what the shareholders are looking for. They're looking for certainty."
On Sunday, Kinder Morgan suspended all non-essential spending on the project, which would triple the capacity of the pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C.
The company has set a May 31 deadline for the federal government to give concrete assurances that the expansion will get built.
Meanwhile, about several hundred people attended a pro-pipeline rally outside the Alberta Legislature late Thursday afternoon.
The crowd carried placards and chanted "Built that pipe! Build that pipe!" and speakers included Kenney and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.
The crowd erupted into anti-Trudeau jeers when federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi started to speak.
"This project is too important for Albertans, and for Canada, to let partisan differences divide us," said Sohi, the Liberal MP for Edmonton Mill Woods.
Many NDP MLAs also attended the rally, standing on one side of the speaker's podium, while UCP MLAs and some local Conservative members of parliament stood on the other.
With files from the CBC's Kathleen Harris