B.C. election won't be a factor in pipeline progress, Alberta ministers insist
B.C. Green Party may hold balance of power, opposes Kinder Morgan project
Alberta cabinet ministers say the uncertainty caused by the results of the B.C. election won't change anything for the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The Liberals led by Premier Christy Clark won a minority government Tuesday after they were elected in 43 of B.C.'s 87 ridings.
The Green Party, with its three seats, may be the factor in determining who will govern. Unlike Clark's Liberals, they oppose the Trans Mountain pipeline.
"It doesn't change what we are doing," said Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd. "We worked hard to get to yes on the pipeline approvals. We have applied for intervener status."
"We'll let them get settled. And start our discussions again with whomever."
Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman said any scenario with the Green Party holding the balance of power in the B.C. legislature is still hypothetical.
"We're going to keep working with the people who are elected," she said. "Premier Christy Clark has the government today.
"We're going to keep working with her. We are grateful that there is already a federal approval and we're continuing to move forward to make sure that we get that market access."
But Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said he finds it "very troubling" that the Green Party could hold the balance of power.
"This government in Alberta, this NDP government is running out of friends," he said.
Jean said Premier Rachel Notley needs to work more collaboratively with other provincial governments in the West to advance Alberta's interests.
Notley acknowledged the uncertainty in remarks to a labour convention in Toronto on Wednesday.
"I had intended to begin my remarks by congratulating the clear premier-elect of B.C.," Notley told delegates at the Canadian Labour Congress Convention.
"However, I think I may have to begin by congratulating the people of B.C. – for making today very interesting.
"As well, I'd like to congratulate Christy Clark, John Horgan and Andrew Weaver for their campaigns and say I look forward to working with them as they embark on what they have all described as a new way of governing B.C."
Greens in the driver's seat
Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said Notley has a tough job ahead of her.
"(Green Party Leader) Andrew Weaver is really in the driver's seat," he said.
"I expect, whether the Greens work with either the NDP or the Liberals, there's going to be certain conditions that they're going to have and all of them are going to be detrimental to Alberta's interests."
Martha Hall Findlay, CEO of the Canada West Foundation, said she shares Bratt's concerns. She said the Green Party could now be in a position to push its agenda on climate policy and pipeline construction.
"There's no question there's worry," she said. "The problem is that there shouldn't be, and that whole issue of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion — that should continue. The prior government, with some very stringent conditions said, 'Yes, we'll go ahead.' That should stand."
Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said in a statement that planning continues on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Construction is scheduled to start in September.