British Columbia John Horgan, left, and Premier of Alberta Jason Kenney discuss issues as Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, centre, looks on during the Western Premiers’ conference, in Edmonton on Thursday, June 27, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

No pipeline fireworks as Western premiers exit annual meeting

Both John Horgan and Jason Kenney said their positions on Trans Mountain haven’t changed

There were smiles, handshakes and even a joke or two as Canada’s western premiers emerged from their day-long meeting in Edmonton Thursday.

There has been friction between the leaders of late over British Columbia’s opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would carry more Alberta oil to the West Coast.

Both B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said their positions on the project didn’t change following the talks.

Thursday was the first time the two leaders met face to face and the meeting came a week after the federal government approved the controversial project for a second time.

But there were no fireworks at the closing news conference like at last year’s meeting, when the pipeline issue led then-Alberta premier Rachel Notley to opt out of signing a final statement for reporters.

Instead, the premiers found common ground on issues such as trade corridors and recognizing professional credentials from province to province.

READ MORE: B.C. files second legal challenge against Alberta over turn-off-taps law

“We spent a lot of time working together on a statement that finds common ground,” Kenney said. “It frankly meant that we didn’t all get what we would like. Premier Horgan wasn’t going to agree to endorse the TMX expansion, for example.

“So, obviously there were some differences.”

Kenney restated that Alberta is prepared to use provincial legislation to limit oil and gas exports to any province he sees as standing in the way of pipelines — a so-called turn-off-the-taps law.

Horgan said his government will push ahead with a legal challenge of that law, as well as a reference to the Supreme Court on whether the federal government had the constitutional jurisdiction to approve the pipeline expansion.

But there were few jabs thrown.

Horgan even made a joke about being the lone New Democrat at the table with Kenney, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe and Manitoba’s Brian Pallister, all leaders of conservative governments.

“I wore a blue suit so I could blend in,” he said as Kenney laughed.

Pallister went into the meeting hoping his western counterparts would unite against Quebec’s law banning civil servants from wearing religious symbols, but the item did not make it on the formal agenda of the meeting.

Pallister said he wouldn’t give up the fight.

“Manitoba remains very concerned about anything that interferes with our ability to celebrate as a country the diversity that’s a reality here,” he said.

“I’m a farm boy and I don’t like erosion. And I certainly am always concerned about the erosion of rights in our country. So I’ll continue to have that view and I’ll continue to express it.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Talks with hereditary chiefs run into the night

Ministers expected to make statement Saturday morning

Mohawks propose temporary Indigenous police for Wet’suwet’en territory

The RCMP has already committed to ending patrols along a critical roadway

Talks with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs enter second day

Federal and provincial ministers ready to extend discussions

Wet’suwet’en herreditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Coastal GasLink agrees to two-day pause of pipeline construction in Morice River area

Work will stop once Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs begin talks with province and feds

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Most Read