Prime Minister encounters pipeline protest in London

VICTORIA-British Columbia's attorney general says Alberta's proposed fuel restriction law is a politically motivated "bluff" that will result in an immediate lawsuit from his province and likely lawsuits from oil companies.

"We do ship some energy products to British Columbia but not a huge amount".

Canadians are also divided on how well political leaders are handling the dispute between B.C. and Alberta.

"It's been approved and if it's not overturned, we believe we should use every inch of our jurisdiction to protect British Columbian jobs, our environment and the rights of First Nations".

D'Avignon pointed out that Alberta and B.C. have the most integrated economies in Canada and, if fuel costs rise in B.C., it will affect the cost of trade goods going to Alberta and the cost to ship Alberta products such as grain from West Coast ports.

The Alberta government has introduced legislation that would give the energy minister power to restrict the flow of oil, gasoline and natural gas leaving the province.

Imperial Oil Ltd. spokesman Jon Harding said Tuesday the Calgary-based company, which ships refined products on Trans Mountain, "understands the rationale" for Bill 12 and will comply if it's passed, but hopes a solution can be found that negates the need for its use.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said his province will take similar action.

On Tuesday, the Saskatchewan government joined the fray, promising to also pass legislation allowing it to interrupt energy shipments to B.C.

David Eby said government legal experts looked at the legislation Alberta tabled Monday and concluded it's unconstitutional, against the law and created to not be enacted. Trudeau repeated the federal government's commitment to ensure the project is completed, saying his government will hold private, financial talks with Kinder Morgan.

If the future of the project continues to look bleak, Notley said, that's when her government might look to the legislation.

Earlier this month, Kinder Morgan - the US -based pipeline builder - announced it was stopping any non-essential spending for the project.

Kinder Morgan announced earlier this month that it is pulling back on spending for the project and has given Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government until May 31 to give a clear signal that the project will proceed.

Notley called the timing of the bill "coincidental" as it relates to pressuring B.C., but said Alberta is quickly approaching full pipeline capacity and must make decisions about getting the best bang for its oil buck.

Alberta's oil sells at a discount on North American markets due to lack of market access outside the United States.

The project would twin an existing pipeline that transports oilsands crude from central Alberta to terminals in Burnaby.

Ervin said cutting off light oil supplies through Trans Mountain would hurt Alberta-based Parkland Fuels Corp., which bought the 55,000-barrel-per-day Burnaby refinery a year ago and has enjoyed good margins thanks to its access to low-priced Alberta feedstock.

  • Rogelio Becker