Notley announces Alberta's departure from federal climate plan following Trans Mountain ruling
Following the Federal Court of Appeal's decision that halted the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Premier Rachel Notley announced that Alberta would no longer participate in the federal climate plan and called on the federal government to involve the Supreme Court of Canada.
“Today, I’m announcing that, with the Trans Mountain halted and the work on it halted, until the federal government gets its act together, Alberta is pulling out of the federal climate plan,” said Notley. “Without Alberta, that plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”
"We are the engine of this country economically," Notley told her fellow Albertans during her announcement on Thursday night. "“We are defending you, your resources, your jobs and the future of our country.”
“For generations, Alberta has been forced to sell our resources to one customer, the United States, and to sell those resources at a major discount. The oil and gas in our ground is owned by each and every Albertan. When we’re forced to sell those resources for less than they our worth, the whole country pays a price.”
On Thursday, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled in favour of applications that suggested the National Energy Board's review was flawed and that the federal government could not rely on the review as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion.
The premier says the successive governments in Edmonton and Ottawa of the past decades failed to address this issue and the resource remains landlocked despite the fact Canada has more coastline than any other country on the planet.
“The combined results of the actions taken by the Harper government, the current federal government, the National Energy Board and the federal court of appeal, means that the current state of affairs in Canada right now is such that building a pipeline to tidewater is practically impossible,” added Notley. “Our ability to transport our most profitable commodity is subject to the whims of the White House and the U.S. government.”
Notley says she spoke Prime Minister Trudeau following the Federal Court of Appeal's ruling and demanded that the federal government immediately launch an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Lori Williams, a political professor at Mount Royal University, says Notley's response utilized the leverage at her disposal. “She’s taken a very strong stance. I think she’s doing the best that could be imagined under the circumstances but she has very limited levers to work with here. What she’s doing is saying ‘Look, this is in the federal realm of responsibility. This is what we think the federal government can do’.”
Williams adds the Federal Court of Appeal's ruling affects more than just the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, it affects oil prices and Alberta's economy and could play a role in the 2019 provincial election.
“I think Rachel Notley was already facing a steep uphill battle for winning in the next election. The pipeline was a key component of that. With the uncertainty that exists at this point in time, that climb got a lot steeper.”