Saskatchewan wants Ottawa to get tough with B.C. over Trans Mountain pipeline

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is calling on the Prime Minister to get tough with British Columbia over its opposition to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.

$7.4B Trans Mountain project would triple the flow of heavy oil from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.

Premier Scott Moe said there needs to be a way to efficiently and safely export goods and a pipeline would be the best way to do that. (CBC)

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is calling on the Prime Minister to get tough with British Columbia over its opposition to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.

Moe says Justin Trudeau's Liberal government should withhold sending federal infrastructure money to B.C.

He says it has been a month since Trudeau met with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in Ottawa and the federal government has not introduced legislation to help get the project built.

"[The Liberals] need to restrict infrastructure investment to the province of British Columbia," Moe said on Tuesday. 

Moe said the Liberal government expressed their willingness to exert its jurisdiction when Saskatchewan lost out on $62 million in funding over a five-year period because it refused to ratify the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Saskatchewan was the only province not to sign on. 

Moe said there needs to be a way to efficiently and safely export goods and a pipeline would be the best way to do that. 

The pipeline would also, "ensure we can preserve that rail capacity for our agricultural products," Moe said. 

Opposition NDP leader Ryan Meili said because the pipeline has been approved, it should go ahead. 

"I would certainly like to see some serious movement. We've seen meetings happening but we need to make sure that this is actually going forward," Meili said.

The $7.4-billion Trans Mountain project would triple the flow of heavy oil from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.

Kinder Morgan, the company behind the pipeline, has warned it will pull the plug by May 31 if hurdles to the project remain.

Moe says time is running out and Ottawa should take action.

Moe wants equalization reform

At the legislature, Moe said Saskatchewan will be putting forward proposals to reform Canada's equalization payment system.

He said Saskatchewan needs to get its agriculture, energy and other products to market if its economy is to continue to grow.

Moe said without better market access Saskatchewan may not be able to continue contributing to equalization. He noted the province contributed $580 million to the program that benefits have-not provinces last year.

"I think it is time for us to look at this formula of equalization to ensure that provinces such as Saskatchewan can continue to be contributors, " he said.

Moe declined to give examples of the changes Saskatchewan will seek to the federal equalization program, but says his government will discuss them with other provinces in the months ahead.

Speaking in Calgary, Trudeau says his government is looking at legislative, legal and financial avenues to get the federally-approved Trans Mountain project moving.

But Trudeau says he won't negotiate in public.

With files from CBC Saskatchewan