Premier Notley to be greeted by pipeline protesters in Vancouver
'It's unfortunate for Alberta they're not on a coast, and that seems to be their biggest issue'
Premier Rachel Notley will today deliver her first speech in British Columbia since the NDP formed government there in May.
Halting expansion of the Trans Mountain 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.
The expansion would triple the amount of crude oil the pipeline transports from Alberta to the West Coast, and open valuable Asia-Pacific markets to Alberta oil producers.
Notley is one of the guest speakers at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade's annual energy forum.
The gathering of business leaders will also feature a keynote address by federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr, and Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada.
Notley's message of promoting pipelines for the economic benefit of "all Canadians" will be embraced by audiences in Alberta, but reviled by some British Columbians who have a message of their own for the Alberta premier.
Notley not welcome
"I mean she's not really welcome here in Vancouver, for pushing her Alberta pipeline issue," said A.J. Klein, a member of the Council of Canadians.
"It's unfortunate for Alberta they're not on a coast, and that seems to be their biggest issue. But they're not, and we are," added Klein.
The Council of Canadians and other groups have organized a formal protest against the Trans Mountain pipeline outside the energy forum venue in Vancouver.
Klein is voicing the concerns of many in B.C. who see the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion as potentially inflicting environmental damage on an already fragile coastline.
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Klein says expanding the pipeline "doesn't make sense," and that the project fails to meet the needs and interests of Indigenous communities.
"So we'll be outside letting them know that they and their agenda aren't welcome," said Klein. "The bottom line is this pipeline is not going to be built."
The Trans Mountain pipeline was approved by the federal government last November but has faced legal challenges and municipal permitting delays ever since.
Notley's appearance at the energy forum caps off a pipeline blitz that took the premier to Toronto and Ottawa last week where she challenged the federal government to "step up" to get the pipeline expansion built and to "articulate and defend the national interest."
Message from Ottawa
Minister Carr sent a letter to the National Energy Board Tuesday, supporting the creation of a "standing panel" to determine Trans Mountain's ongoing compliance with provincial and municipal permits.
In a statement, Carr said Ottawa wants to see the project proceed "in a timely fashion," a reference to the series of delays the pipeline expansion has faced since it was approved a year ago.
"The government is supportive of establishing a process that would assist in resolving any conflicts over the issuance of municipal or provincial permits and avoid unnecessary delays to project construction or regulatory compliance," said Carr in the statement.