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New Alberta Premier Directly Threatens B.C. Over Pipelines

Alberta’s new Premier-designate Jason Kenney has wasted no time in launching his energy agenda: he plans to address British Columbia’s opposition to oil pipeline projects by threatening to turn off the oil and gas taps right after he takes office later this month.

The Globe and Mail quoted Kenney as saying he had spoken to the premiers of both British Columbia and Quebec, as well as to federal PM Justin Trudeau regarding the pressing pipeline matter that has plagued Canada’s oil province for more than a year now.

Although Kenney told media he was looking to win friends for Alberta’s energy priorities, his approach can hardly be called entirely friendly given the threat to turn off the taps.

“You don’t start a relationship by shouting at each other. You start it by talking and trying to find common ground,” the Alberta Premier-designate told media. “We will begin with the path of diplomacy and … we hope that we don’t need to use more forceful measures to assert Alberta’s vital economic interests,” Kenney added in what can hardly be called a subtle threat.

The United Conservative Party won the provincial vote in Alberta on Tuesday with an overwhelming majority, promising a harder line on energy issues as a champion for the oil industry.

Its leader, Kenney, pledged on the campaign trail to remove the carbon tax introduced in the oil province and challenge legislation that neighbor British Columbia is pushing that would give it more power over inter-province infrastructure projects. The goal is to stop for good the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project.

Related: The 2020 Elections Could Be A Turning Point For Oil & Gas

With Quebec, however, Kenney apparently plans to be indeed friendly, betting on the province’s distaste for imported energy versus domestic supplies.

“The polls in Quebec show that Quebeckers prefer to buy and consume Canadian energy to foreign energy imports … . I think they would see no social acceptability for dictator oil that fuels conflict around the world,” Kenney said.

However, Quebec’s PM does not seem to agree. François Legault said yesterday Quebec did not need new pipelines and they were not socially acceptable. Kenny called the comment an unfortunate choice of words in yet another sign inter-provincial relations are going to be interesting to follow.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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