Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to media before the Speech from the Throne, in Edmonton on March 8, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

There won’t be any fireworks between the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia at the Western premiers conference this week, because Alberta Premier Rachel Notley isn’t going.

B.C.’s John Horgan and Notley, who have butted heads over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, were both scheduled to be in Yellowknife at the conference, which starts Tuesday.

But Cheryl Oates, a spokeswoman for Notley, said in an email Monday afternoon that Notley will be staying in Alberta to complete a deal to secure the construction of the pipeline.

“With 10 days remaining before Kinder Morgan’s deadline, my only priority is to make sure the pipeline gets built,” Notley said in a tweet.

Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman will be attending the conference on Notley’s behalf.

Horgan said last week that B.C. and Alberta disagree on the pipeline expansion, but that he and Notley are in agreement on a number of other issues, and have been friends for 20 years.

READ MORE: B.C. heading to court over Alberta’s threat to restrict fuel exports

READ MORE: Pipeline deal won’t cause tension at premiers conference: Horgan

Horgan said he didn’t anticipate any high tension at the conference, even when Notley was still planning to be there, and that he expected the main focus of the meeting to be the development of a national pharmacare program.

Notley, however, fired back on Twitter on Monday evening.

“It would be surreal and exceptionally tone deaf for anyone to think we could politely discuss pharmacare and cannabis when one of the players is hard at work trying to choke the economic lifeblood of the province and the country,” the Alberta premier wrote.

Horgan wasn’t commenting Monday on Notley’s decision to skip the conference.

Alberta has passed legislation allowing it to limit fuel exports to B-C, but British Columbia countered by announcing plans for a lawsuit that would declare Alberta’s legislation unconstitutional.

Even without the Alberta premier’s presence at the premiers conference, Horgan could still face pressure from other premiers.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said last week that he wants to speak about the pipeline’s benefits when he’s at the conference.

“I’m very concerned that we are missing an opportunity here in this nation to advance our economic benefit here, not just in Saskatchewan, but in Western Canada and the nation of Canada,” Moe said.

Moe has said the federal government should withhold sending federal infrastructure money to B.C. over that province’s opposition to Trans Mountain. (CKRM)

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Day one of Hometown Hockey in West Kelowna

Special guests, music, games, and free pizza! Hometown Hockey countinues on Sunday.

Kids provide their own ideas during play in Kelowna

Ideas Bobert! is part of the Living Things International Arts Festival

Women’s March draws small crowd in Kelowna

The small, but passionate, group marched along Water Street Saturday

UBCO Heat men’s and women’s basketball squads bounce over MacEwan

The women got their first win of the season, while the men keep their playoff hopes alive

Surrey man fined $10,000 by Kelowna’s Provincial Court

The man was convicted for three Wildlife Act offences after shooting a bull moose not in season

Find me my furever home: Mittens and Boots

Meet Mittens and Boots who are available for adoption at the Kelowna BC SPCA

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Most Read