Premier John Horgan speaks at Vancouver General Hospital on Wednesday, March 21. (File photo: Katya Slepian/Black Press)

B.C. premier denies crisis, says one investment doesn’t make an economy

Premier John Horgan showed no signs Monday of backing down on the battle over the Kinder Morgan pipeline

British Columbia Premier John Horgan showed no signs Monday of backing down on the battle over the Kinder Morgan pipeline, rejecting widespread claims his government’s challenge of the $7.4 billion project is hurting the economy and tearing apart the country.

His tone ran from calm to exasperated during a 30-minute question period in the legislature where the Opposition Liberals accused his government of hurting investor confidence, ignoring the rule of law and picking an unwinnable fight with Alberta and the federal government.

“One investment project does not an economy make,” said Horgan, adding B.C. has the lowest jobless rate in Canada and a solid credit rating.

Kinder Morgan announced Sunday it was stopping all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, saying opposition from the B.C. government puts the project at risk. It has set a deadline of May 31 for talks with various stakeholders to reach an agreement that could allow the project to proceed.

“All of a sudden when the shareholders in Texas issue a press release there’s a constitutional crisis,” Horgan said.

The government announced in February that it will ask the court to decided if it has the right to protect its environment by restricting diluted bitumen in the Trans Mountain pipeline. The decisions to refer the matter to the courts prompted Alberta to suspend a ban on wine imports from B.C.

“What we’re talking about here is the province of B.C. going to court to assert our jurisdiction and protect the interests of British Columbians,” Horgan told the legislature. ”We said in an election campaign a year ago this is what we would do.”

He said B.C. is in court to defend its coast and its interests from a project that will triple bitumen shipments from Alberta to Burnaby and increase tanker traffic seven-fold in B.C. waters.

Horgan said he spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley on Sunday and told both leaders to build more oil refineries instead of pipelines.

“That would be leadership,” he said.

Notley said Monday she told Horgan in a telephone call that B.C.’s opposition to the pipeline threatens the rule of law in Canada and she made it clear her province will retaliate.

Related: B.C. blasted for Trans Mountain pipeline tactics

Notley said she will introduce legislation this week to give Alberta the power to reduce oil flows to B.C., which could send gas prices in the province soaring.

Opposition Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson said Horgan’s reckless pipeline battle ignores the law, creates uncertainty and tears at the fabric of the nation.

“The premier stands alone in his opinions,” he told the legislature. “Is this burgeoning fiasco his definition of success?”

Wilkinson urged Horgan to meet with the prime minister to resolve the dispute and ensure certainty for the federally-approved project.

Greg D’Avignon, president of the B.C. Business Council, said the government’s decision to prolong the process threatens the credibility of the country’s regulatory and project approval systems.

British Columbia’s Chamber of Commerce said the implications of the decision by Kinder Morgan are “seismic,” and if this project can’t be built it will show the world that government approvals count for nothing.

Opposition to the pipeline has ramped up in recent weeks, with several dozen people arrested near the Burnaby marine terminal in the last month.

Trudeau said last week in Victoria the pipeline will be built.

Related: Trudeau says Trans Mountain pipeline will go through

Related: Elizabeth May, other anti-pipeline protesters should be criminally charged: judge

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Second annual Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce golf tournament

Golf Holes #2 and #6 are Hole-in-One opportunities, each with a cash prize of $25,000!

No taxes paid by Neucel, Doug Bondue Arena in Port Alice closes

“Neucel owes us a million dollars and it’s pretty hard to stay status quo when you’re short a million.”

Dragonboat society requests new location for 80 square foot storage shed in McNeill

“Part of my concern for using lot B is that it could become a parking lot for them…”

Klatt a force on the field – helps Bantam A Tyee’s win provincials

David Klatt played in every game last weekend down in Nanaimo.

Port McNeill releases in-depth Beach Drive landslide report

“It’s very positive,” said the town’s Public Works Foreman Julian Allen.

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Most Read