Protesters chant 'Notley go home,' while premier gets warm reception at Vancouver energy forum

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley waded into the centre of opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline project in Vancouver Thursday and came away with a standing ovation.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks during the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade's annual Energy Forum, in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday. Notley brought her pro-pipeline pitch to Vancouver, where she was met by protesters and supporters. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley waded into the centre of opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline project in Vancouver Thursday and came away with a standing ovation.

The applause came from business and labour groups attending an energy forum organized by the Vancouver Board of Trade.

Notley's message that the Trans Mountain pipeline will bring prosperity to all Canadians, and especially to those in British Columbia and Alberta, was warmly received by groups hoping to benefit from the pipeline expansion.

"If we can build pipelines that move U.S. and Asian energy products around the Lower Mainland, surely we can build them to move Canadian products that benefit all Canadians," Notley said to applause.

But as the premier was giving her pitch to a supportive audience inside a Vancouver waterfront hotel, about 150 protesters were outside brandishing placards and chanting "Notley go home."

About 150 protesters tuned out to demonstrate in front of a waterfront hotel hosting the Vancouver energy forum Thursday. (CBC)

"There's no money in it for Burnaby at all," said Mayo, a protester who says there's nothing Rachel Notley, or Kinder Morgan can say that will change her mind that the pipeline expansion is a bad idea.

Ed Jones said he's concerned about the impact further development of the oilsands would have on the health of his four children in the future.

'Notley go home'

"You can do all the talking you want, you can travel the country, you can make all the speeches you want, but the bottom line is increased emissions — and that's the problem," Jones said.

Notley vowed the pipeline expansion, which would triple the amount of crude oil the pipeline carries from Alberta to the West Coast, will not increase oilsands carbon emissions.

"The pipeline has nothing to do with carbon emissions," Notley told CBC News Thursday.

"That's a really fundamental point."

Alberta premier pitches pipelines in B.C.

5 years ago
Duration 8:12
'I believe it can be done safely, and the economic and social benefits are in everybody's interests,' says Rachel Notley.

Halting the expansion of the pipeline was a key campaign promise for B.C. Premier John Horgan, who vowed to use "every tool in the toolbox'' to stop the project.

Since Horgan's election in May, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has been stalled by judicial actions and the refusal of the City of Burnaby to issue the necessary permits and approvals for construction.

In a rare public speech, Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, appeared exasperated as he ran through the litany of obstacles the Trans Mountain pipeline project has faced since it was approved by the federal government one year ago.

'Nowhere near where we expected to be'

"We're standing here today with approvals in hand, yet we are nowhere near where we expected to be — where we should be," Anderson told the audience.

He said the project is already nine months behind schedule, and though investors are committed, they're looking for more "certainty."

"The time for selling this project is over," said Anderson who pointed out that approvals that should normally take seven weeks are now dragging out to seven months. 

Anderson said the Trans Mountain pipeline has had a "healthy debate and rigorous review" and now deserves to be built.

"At the end of September, we began some construction at our Westridge Marine Terminal here in Burnaby. That's the only place we've been able to commence construction," he said. 

Federal Energy Minister Jim Carr, who also spoke at the forum, laid out his stance on the pipeline.

"What the government of Canada wants to ensure is that there aren't unnecessary delays to a process which is a federally approved major energy project," Carr told reporters.

Minister Carr sent a letter to the National Energy Board on Tuesday, supporting the creation of a "standing panel" to determine Trans Mountain's ongoing compliance with provincial and municipal permits.

On two occasions, protesters posing as delegates were quickly removed from the forum after trying to shout down federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Ian Anderson, president Kinder Morgan Canada. (CBC)

As Carr was beginning his address to the forum, however, he was interrupted by a suit-wearing protester who blended into the crowd as a paid delegate.

"Mr. Carr, I'm afraid to have children," the protester screamed as he was being led out the door.

"We will be facing resource shortages and the wars that go with them. How dare you do this," he yelled.

As for being the target of protesters, Notley shrugged it off saying that after living in British Columbia for 10 years, "a protest of 150 people is kind of small."