Alberta premier tells Ottawa to 'step up' to get pipelines built

Premier Rachel Notley is using her cross-Canada pipeline tour to take aim at everyone from the federal government, her own national party, the opposition, and activists opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

'We risk being out-shouted by determined advocates,' Rachel Notley says

Premier Rachel Notley told an Ottawa audience on Tuesday that the federal government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion last fall because the project is in the 'national interest.' (CBC)

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is using her cross-Canada speaking tour to take aim at everyone from the federal government and her own national party to activists opposed building more pipelines.

In a speech Tuesday to the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa, Notley called on Ottawa to "step up" and get moving on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The project is now tied up in court and faces municipal permit delays from the city of Burnaby in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

The federal Liberal government approved the Trans Mountain expansion project in November 2016.

The expansion would triple the amount of crude oil carried from Alberta to the West Coast, and open valuable Asia-Pacific markets.

"The efforts of local councils to frustrate the national government's decision that was made in the national interest, must be met head on," Notley said.

'We risk being out-shouted'

Now more than ever, she said, Canadians need the federal government to "articulate and defend the national interest."

"We risk being out-shouted by determined advocates," said Notley, who emphasized that the position taken by opponents doesn't take into consideration the economic impact on "working families."

Notley also took the opportunity to reiterate her criticism of the National Energy Board.

The federal regulator imposed a new, tougher review process to include downstream emissions when evaluating the proposed Energy East pipeline project.

In a regulatory filing with the NEB in early October, TransCanada said it pulled the plug on the project because of "existing and likely future delays resulting from the regulatory process, the associated cost implications and the increasingly challenging issues and obstacles."

The proposed Energy East project would have carried more than one million barrels of oil every day from Alberta and Saskatchewan across the country, to be refined or exported from facilities in New Brunswick and Quebec.

"It should not, it cannot, be a precedent that applies to future projects," Notley said.

Notley also appealed for support from the federal NDP, which has taken a position opposed to pipeline projects, and from the federal Conservatives and the United Conservative Party in Alberta.

"Stop playing politics," Notley urged all parties.

The importance of pipelines, she said, transcends "partisan political divides."

Notley continues her pipeline tour with a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Friday.