B.C. plan to intervene in Trans Mountain expansion marks change of attitude, Rachel Notley says

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says B.C.’s decision to intervene in the legal challenge to the Trans Mountain pipeline represents a change in attitude.

“The B.C. government has stopped talking about stopping the pipeline and instead they are talking about ensuring that it meets a high standard,” she said Thursday at an event near Hardisty, Alta., to mark the start of construction on the Enbridge Line 3 replacement pipeline. 

“Those are exactly the kinds of things that I think all Canadians agree with, and something our government does and always has.”

On Thursday, B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby said their province would seek intervenor status in the legal challenge to the federal government’s decision to expand the pipeline.

They are also seeking legal advice from Thomas Berger, a former B.C. Supreme Court justice.

Notley said both actions are reasonable but she repeated her oft-stated assertion that the decision has already been made that the expansion is in the best interests of Canadians.

B.C. ‘doesn’t have a leg to stand on’

United Conservative Party critics called on Notley to condemn what they called “the B.C. NDP’s radical plan to bog down” the Trans Mountain expansion in legal and environmental challenges.

“This project has already been approved by our world-class energy regulator, as well as two federal cabinets,” UCP MLA Drew Barnes said in a statement.

“The B.C. government doesn’t have a leg to stand on, and we need to make that clear as a province and country. There’s absolutely no excuse for this kind of political interference, especially at this stage in the game.”

Barnes’s colleague Rick Fraser said it’s time for Notley to drop her “social licence” approach to politics, which has failed to win support for pipelines on the West Coast.

“Premier Notley’s plan to win over her friends in B.C. with ‘social licence’ has flopped,” Fraser said in a statement. “The premier needs to show she’s ready to do what Albertans elected her to do, which is put Alberta’s interests first and roundly condemn this latest news.”

Notley said she still expects Trans Mountain construction to start this fall, at least on the Alberta sections. 

Nearly two dozen environmental and First Nations groups are challenging the federal government’s decision to approve the expansion last year. 

They say the National Energy Board process was flawed as it didn’t take environmental and First Nations concerns into account. 

That legal challenge will be heard this fall. 

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