Christy Clark accused B.C. Premier John Horgan's new government of "intentionally trying to frustrate" the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on Saturday.
At the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, Clark delivered her first public speech since she resigned as premier of B.C. last year. Speaking to gathered conservatives, she emphasized the importance of oil pipelines and liquefied natural gas.
Last month, Horgan's government proposed to restrict passage of oil through British Columbia until it could better understand the impacts of spilled bitumen.
“I think what the current government in British Columbia is doing is intentionally trying to frustrate the pipeline. It is not legal, it is unconstitutional and it is really bad for Canada. You know in this country we set rules, we set goalposts, and you can’t change them halfway through," Clark told reporters at the Shaw Centre.
"You know, it’s not just about the pipelines, it’s not just about natural gas, it’s about all of the jobs and all of the people who are going to find themselves out of work when investors around the world don’t want to come to Canada anymore. And that’s really what’s at stake here... It’s so important that the rule of law and the Constitution be respected.”
The Horgan government's decision to restrict the mobility of Alberta oil has kicked off a trade dispute between the two provinces. This week NDP Premier Rachel Notley threatened to stop importing B.C. wine.
"I think a trade war always gets you an expected result," Clark said briefly.
A major part of the conflict between the two provinces is the $7.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, proposed by Texas-based energy giant Kinder Morgan. The expansion would triple the capacity of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline to pump up to 890,000 barrels of oil daily from Alberta to a marine terminal in Burnaby. From the company’s Burnaby site, the oil would be shipped to Asian markets in tankers through Vancouver Harbour and then through the waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait shared by British Columbia and Washington State. The B.C. government under NDP premier John Horgan opposes the pipeline, whereas the project was supported under the previous BC Liberal government.
Canada needs oil pipelines and LNG, Clark tells conservatives
Clark covered a lot of ground while speaking to convention participants, urging conservatives to enlist women in upcoming elections, and discussing the importance of revenue sharing with Indigenous communities.
But the oil and gas infrastructures she fought for as premier featured prominently in her hour-long speech.
"It’s not just about the pipelines, it’s not just about natural gas, it’s about all of the jobs & people who are going to find themselves out of work when investors around the world don’t want to come to Canada anymore..." #ChristyClark claims.
“If Kinder Morgan happens, if LNG happens, Canada – not just British Columbia and Alberta, not just Indigeneous communities — every single Canadian is going to be a whole lot richer,” she said.
“And eco-activists and their enablers are going to argue, as they always do, that resource extraction is bad for First Nations. I passionately argue the opposite, because I believe that if we do it right, moving oil and gas from our west coast over to Asia is going to be a generational opportunity to finally alter the future for Indigenous people in this country.”
Editor's note: The cost of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was corrected at 5:18 p.m. EST.