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NDP changes its tune over the Northern Gateway pipeline
Published Friday, April 22, 2016 5:24AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, April 22, 2016 9:28AM MDT
The Alberta NDP appears to be switching its stance when it comes to pipelines and confirms talks are ongoing with B.C. about the Northern Gateway project.
The news appears to be a flip for the party, which had spoken out against pipelines during the election campaign.
During the 2015 campaign, Notley spoke out against the Northern Gateway pipeline, citing environmental concerns and a negative impact on First Nations communities.
On Thursday, Economic Minister Deron Bilous was in Calgary speaking about the budget when he was asked a question about the possibility of pipelines for Alberta.
Bilous said the NDP wants to see pipelines built both east and west and confirms there are ongoing conversations to get the projects going.
A spokesperson for the Premier confirmed that B.C. and Alberta are indeed discussing the possibility of pipelines.
Cheryl Oates, Notley’s press secretary, says that there is a common understanding between the two provinces; B.C. wants to export its hydroelectricity and Alberta wants to get oilsands to tidewater.
The news came as Alberta’s Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd confirmed that the NDP is in favour of all pipelines.
The Northern Gateway pipeline would stretch 1,000 km, taking Alberta crude to a seaport in Kitimat, B.C.
The project, administered by Enbridge, is still facing a number of regulatory hurdles.
Earlier this year, the project was set back after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled in favour of Coastal First Nations.
The challenge was brought forward in 2015 by the Gitga’at First Nation and Coastal First Nations on the basis that there was a lack of consultation with First Nations people about the project.
As a result, Enbridge was forced to start over from square one with the consultation process.
The pipeline talk in Alberta is coming as the NDP government is trying to come up with ways to turn around a $10.4B deficit announced in the April 14 budget.