Million-dollar ad campaign touts the benefits of expanding the Canadian oil-sands link to the Pacific, while Bill 12 threatens to cut off BC’s oil supply if opposition to the pipeline expansion continues.
Alberta is ramping up its fight with British Columbia for Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain project with powers to shut off oil shipments to its coastal neighbor and a campaign to influence public opinion.
The C$1.2 million advertising campaign on the benefits of expanding the Canadian oil-sands link to the Pacific will feature billboards and allocate C$700,000 of spending in British Columbia, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said during a press conference on Thursday.
Notley also blasted recent comments made by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in an interview with Bloomberg News in New York. Robertson said that the pipeline will not be built because local opposition will only intensify and because Canada needs to wean itself off fossil fuels.
Robertson’s comments “show a tremendous inability to look beyond the most local of borders,” Notley said. “They obviously demonstrate a lack of knowledge about what generates wealth in Canada.” Notley said she’ll respond at greater length to Robertson in a piece in Vancouver media.
The premier also said Alberta’s government, controlled by her New Democratic Party, will pass Bill 12, which is designed to allow the province to restrict its shipments of oil. The measure was introduced last month, but is not yet passed into law.
Alberta also plans to participate in a court case where British Columbia is seeking to assert its jurisdiction over coastline protection measures that would interfere with the federally approved Trans Mountain expansion, she said.
Opponents on the West Coast say the likelihood of a catastrophic spill in BC waters due to massively increased tanker traffic is inevitable, and too high a price to pay for financial benefits that will go to the Alberta government and foreign oil companies, leaving BC with the cleanup bill and a ruined ecosystem. They also say that a new pipeline will generate very few permanent jobs.
The most strident opposition to the project has been centered in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia’s biggest cities, according to polls, while there is broad support for the pipeline expansion in British Columbia outside the two urban centers. Two members of federal parliament were arrested in March for defying a court injunction banning protesters from disrupting construction at Kinder Morgan’s facility near Vancouver.
Notley said her administration is speaking with Kinder Morgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration about solutions to the pipeline impasse on a “daily basis.”
“I am very confident that, working together, we are going to get this done,” Notley said.