B.C. political deal could have implications in Alberta
A new deal struck between the B.C. NDP and the Green Party to form a minority government in the province could end up having big implications in Alberta, particularly in the oil industry.
The Green Party won three seats in the election earlier this month and therefore held a lot of sway in what the political landscape would be looking like in B.C. The Liberals won 43 seats, one short of a majority, and the NDP won 41.
Both the Greens and the NDP have come out against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and some experts say that the deal between the two parties could spell big trouble for the project.
In November 2016, the Trudeau government approved the pipeline that would run crude oil from Edmonton to a port in Metro Vancouver.
Andrew Weaver, the leader of the B.C. Green Party, said that the Kinder Morgan issue was critical to them and they will reiterate that during an official statement later on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Alberta NDP says it will continue to work to grow the energy industry.
“We’re going to keep moving forward, showing that we can be environmental leaders and job creators and that’s exactly what this pipeline will do for Alberta,” said Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman.
Premier Rachel Notley also released a statement on Tuesday morning, saying that if any accord between the B.C. NDP and Green Party results in an NDP-led government, then she will be working with him on the issues facing both provinces.
As for Trans Mountain itself, Notley said it is an important project not only for Alberta but for Canada as well.
"It comes with significant safety measures that will better protect Canada’s West Coast and Alberta’s commitment to a world-leading climate plan. Because of that, the National Energy Board and the federal government – which has ultimate responsibility – approved it after a rigorous environmental review."
She also said that there is nothing provinces can do to stop a project that has already received federal approval.
"This is a foundational principle that binds our country together. There are no legal tools available to provinces to stand in the way of infrastructure projects that benefit all Canadians."
But experts say that nothing is stopping the B.C. government from setting up as many hurdles as they can to delay the project.
That's something that spells bad news for Premier Rachel Notley, says Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University.
"She received a big victory when Justin Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain Expansion into B.C., but if there are no shovels in the ground, if we're still battling in the court, if the B.C. government is adding additional environmental conditions for the pipeline and she's going to the polls in 2019 and nothing's been done, that's going to be devastating to her government."
Kinder Morgan say it isn’t shaken up by the political developments and has announced it will be moving ahead with an initial public offering on the Trans Mountain Expansion.
It’s expected to raise $1.75B to help fund the $7.5B expansion project.
Kinder Morgan has put up more than 100M shares on offer at $17 each.
The B.C. NDP still need to ratify the agreement in a vote scheduled for later on Tuesday.