Alberta Premier Rachel Notley stated her support for turning over the Trans Mountain pipeline to private investors as soon as is feasible while speaking to the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce on Monday.
With pipeline protesters already targeting Liberal MP’s constituency offices in B.C. — Notley also acknowledged the need to preempt the black eye these demonstrations will undoubtedly give Alberta, internationally, with “facts” about the province’s environmental record.
Alberta government officials will be speaking at environmental conferences in Europe and other beyond, she said, to combat some of the “misinformation” being spread about Alberta’s so-called dirty oil.
“We are leading the continent with our climate leadership plan,” said Notley, who believes the best way to fight a smear campaign will be with “facts… and we will do that as much as we need to.”
About 175 chamber members attended the Black Knight Inn luncheon to hear the Premier speak about the next steps now that the contentious Trans Mountain Pipeline has been purchased by the federal Liberal government.
Previous investor, Kinder Morgan, threatened to pull out of the project over the instability caused by the B.C. government’s legal attempts to stop the pipeline.
Notley said it isn’t unusual for governments to step in to finance initiatives that have scared off private investors. She mentioned former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed’s investment in the Alberta oilsands technologies, and Ottawa’s investment in the Hibernia off-shore oil project.
Both projects were highly profitable and now have private investors — which she expects will happen with the Trans Mountain Pipeline, as well.
Notley noted this is the first major pipeline to the coast in almost 70 years: “Too long.”
To the federal leader of the conservatives, Andrew Sheer, who has been critical of Ottawa’s takeover of the pipeline project, Notley said, “You know what? They had nine years to get pipeline built… but could not get the job done… I am glad to be moving forward on this… (Scheer) should stop cheering for its demise.”
She also made a reference to B.C. Premier John Horgan’s “legal harrass-ey” behaviour in a speech that largely reinforced all of the efforts she and her government have made to ensure that the Trans Mountain Pipline went ahead to create more capacity to ship Alberta oil overseas to global markets.
Alberta’s energy industry not only fuels thousands of household incomes, she said it’s of national interest. This was brought home when Notley read some stats about how much money Canada’s four “have” provinces send back to Ottawa annually.
Saskatchewan residents send $550 per person more than they receive. Ontarians send back $650 while British Columbians $886. When Notley said each Albertan send back $5,148 more than is received, an audible gasp could be heard from the Red Deer crowd.
Notley didn’t want to comment on whether her government’s chances have improved in the next provincial election, saying it’s too far away. Red Deer Chamber CEO Robin Bobocel also didn’t want to get political.
But Bobocel did say, “I think the provincial government has done its job, in terms of negotiation for Alberta,” but he hopes the pipeline is eventually sold to the private sector.