B.C. taking Alberta to court over ‘turn off the taps’ gas legislation

‘Cordial’ discussion with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney as lawsuit filed

B.C. Premier John Horgan has called on both Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help alleviate the fuel shortage that has contributed to record gasoline prices in B.C., as he continues to oppose expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Horgan said Wednesday that B.C. he has put in an urgent request to speak to Trudeau to find ways to increase refined fuel to B.C., or light crude that can be refined at the Parkland Fuels refinery in Burnaby.

Horgan also described his “cordial” first phone call with new Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who has proclaimed the Rachel Notley government’s law intended to restrict fuel shipments to B.C., but confirmed he wants to negotiate with B.C. before attempting to use it.

“[Kenney] said that he had no plans to use the bill, but felt as it was a key election commitment, he would proceed with it,” Horgan told reporters at the B.C. legislature. “Regardless, our lawyers today filed two actions in court to strike down the bill because we believe it’s unconstitutional.”

Horgan said he was encouraged by Kenney’s interest in the fuel price situation, but declined to comment on the suggestion that additional fuel shipments might be a way to settle the interprovincial dispute over pipeline expansion.

READ MORE: Kenney enacts pipeline law, says he won’t use it

READ MORE: Where B.C. drivers’ money goes to from gas pump

Horgan said his request to speak with Trudeau is about “what the new owners of that pipeline can do about relieving pressure here in the Lower Mainland.”

“I can’t rationalize the outrageous spike in prices here relative to other jurisdictions, beyond what I’ve said several times, a lack of supply,” Horgan said.

In the legislature, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson accused Horgan of “begging” Kenney for more fuel, and suggested it was unlikely to happen.

The suggestion that twinning the 65-year-old pipeline from the Edmonton area to Burnaby will increase refined fuel flow to B.C. is not supported by pipeline usage data, or Trans Mountain’s application to the National Energy Board to expand it, he said.

The NEB application doesn’t propose to increase refined fuels, and pipeline data for the past two years shows an increase in diluted bitumen for export by tanker while refined fuels has declined, Horgan said.

Kenney acknowledged that “people in the Vancouver region are rightfully ticked off” about paying $1.70 per litre to fill up their vehicles, arguing that the expanded pipeline will alleviate the shortage and bring pump prices down.

Horgan said he hopes to meet with Kenney in person within the next 30 days.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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