Notley pulls Alberta out of federal carbon plan

August 30, 2018 8:02 pm

For a long time Saskatchewan stood alone against the federal Carbon Tax.

Then Ontario, under new premier Doug Ford, pulled out of the federal plan and launched a constitutional challenge against Ottawa's right to impose a carbon tax.

Now Alberta is pulling out of the federal plan, after a court ruling cancelled the approval of the Trans-Mountain pipeline.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she is pulling Alberta out of the national climate-change plan to protest the court decision.

The ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal poses a threat to Canadian sovereignty and economic security and leaves the country hostage to the whims of the White House and U.S. President Donald Trump, Notley said.

"Albertans are angry, I am angry," Notley said in reaction to ruling that stalled a project her government has spent major political capital to advance. "Alberta has done everything right, and we've been let down."

Notley called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to immediately appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court and recall Parliament for an emergency session to allow the National Energy Board to approve pipelines more easily.

Notley blamed both the current federal government and the previous one for creating a situation she said has made it "practically impossible" to build a pipeline to tidewater.

"Now, more than ever, we need to come together and prove to ourselves and to the world that our country works," Notley said. "This ruling is bad for working families. And it is bad for the economic security of our country."

Canada can't accept that the only market for its oil and gas resources is in the United States, Notley said.

"No other country on Earth would accept this, and Canada shouldn't either, especially when we are doing it to ourselves. It is ridiculous.

"Money that should be going to Canadian schools and hospitals is going to American yachts and private jets. We're exporting jobs, we're exporting opportunity, and we are letting other countries control our economic destiny. We can't stand for it."

She said Alberta will not sign on to the national climate-change plan "until the federal government gets its act together."

"And let's be clear," she said, "without Alberta that plan isn't worth the paper it's written on."

The $7.4-billion Trans Mountain expansion would double the capacity of a pipeline that transports Prairie petroleum products to the West Coast.

The expansion project appeared set to move ahead. But on Thursday morning, the federal court said the National Energy Board's assessment was so flawed it should not have been relied on by the federal cabinet when it gave final approval to proceed in November 2016.

Earlier Thursday, Jason Kenney characterized the court ruling as a win for other oil-producing nations, and urged the Notley government to immediately repeal its carbon tax.

"She has been wrong on this from Day 1," Kenney said. "She drank the proverbial Kool-Aid, believing that a punishing carbon tax would get the environmental radicals to down tools.

"We've been paying that carbon tax now for a couple of years. It's made the cost of everything higher, but it's done nothing to get us the so-called social licence."

Kenney called the court decision a sad day for Canada.

"Today is a win for the OPEC dictatorships," he said. "It's a win for Donald Trump. He gets to continue to buy Canadian oil at a steep discount, while reselling American oil to the rest of the world at a much higher price."

He called on the federal government to immediately appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada and to immediately pursue whatever additional consultations the Federal Court of Appeal is demanding.

The courts, Kenney said, seem to continually change the definition of what constitutes meaningful consultations with Indigenous groups.

"I'm not a lawyer but I am very frustrated with the decision and, as a general comment, I think the judiciary needs to understand that these are not academic questions," Kenney said. "That decisions like this have massive impacts on people's lives, on ordinary people's livelihoods.

"People are going to lose their jobs. Businesses are going to go down. First Nations will lose the opportunity to generate wealth for their people as a result of today's decision.

"Do they even care about that when they balance out competing interests in these decisions? I don't know. But I certainly hope the Supreme Court of Canada will have an opportunity to review this and, I hope, restore some balance to this decision."

Also Thursday, Kinder Morgan shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale of the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project to the Canadian government for $4.5 billion.