Politics

Canada acting 'like a bunch of villages as opposed to a nation' on pipelines, says Rachel Notley

The Alberta NDP premier says in order for Canada to move to a de-carbonized economy in the future, the present must include pipelines.

Alberta premier argues pipelines are path to funding transition to a de-carbonized economy

Premier Rachel Notley says Canada needs to unite on pipeline projects and getting the country's oil to market. (Terry Reith/CBC )

If Canada wants to eventually move to a de-carbonized future, the country's present must include pipelines, says Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

"All the things we need to do to get to a de-carbonized economy...that doesn't happen for free," Notley told Terry Milewski in an interview on CBC Radio's The House.

"We have a revenue source that will help fund that, but we're giving it away at a discount because we're acting like a bunch of villages as opposed to a nation."

Notley said getting Alberta's oil to tidewater is critical for both economic and environmental reasons.

"Our product is being discounted by almost a third, because we're not able to function as an effective economic unit as a nation to get our product to points that allow us to diversify our markets," she said.

"That's something that hurts not only Albertans, but workers across the country, investors across the country, and quite frankly, it hurts environmentalists."

Notley added that the more product Alberta can move through pipelines, the "more we can use the revenue from that to fund a transition" to a lower carbon and ultimately de-carbonized economy.

TransCanada's Energy East project, a proposed 4,500 km pipeline that will transport oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada, is currently stuck in a stalemate as the project makes its way through the National Energy Board's regulation process

Controversy and opposition from political leaders and environmental groups also have dogged the project. 

​NDP 'Leap-ers' lack 'pragmatic understanding' of economy

The provincial NDP leader continued to distance herself from the Leap Manifesto, a document whose principles the federal NDP recently voted to discuss and debate in riding associations across the country. 

Notley dismissed the manifesto, which calls for more drastic action to combat climate change, as lacking in "pragmatic understanding."

"[The Leap Manifesto] doesn't demonstrate a clear understanding of the role of the resource sector in the Canadian economy, and it appears to be very tone deaf to the reality of...people across the country who have lost their jobs as a result of the decline of oil," Notley said. 

"We don't march in and impose the kind of statements that were included in the Leap Manifesto, and then fail to identify the sources of revenue that would be used to fund the sort of important social programs they profess to care about," she added. 

"[Those programs] don't come for free."

Only the lonely? The country's lone NDP premier says that's not the case - she's 'the beginning of a vanguard of new NDP governments' across Canada. 11:33

Notley leading 'vanguard' of NDP governments

With Greg Selinger's defeat in Manitoba earlier this week and the federal NDP's shocking rejection of Tom Mulcair, Notley remains the last New Democrat leader standing in the country.

But she's not concerned, nor is she feeling lonely. 

"I like to see myself as the beginning of a vanguard of new NDP governments across the country," Notley said. 

The Alberta premier also isn't fearing a right-flank attack in her own province if the Wild Rose and Progressive Conservatives unite in a bid against the NDP.

"Three months before the last election, our party was at 14 per cent," she pointed out. "I'm not spending a lot of time worrying about those parties.

"Analogies that suggest that one plus one equals two when you're talking about political parties merging tend to not work out very well."

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