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

Summerland Museum asks for World War I artifacts

Upcoming exhibit will examine end of war and effects on Summerland soldiers

Canadian concert series returns to Oliver winery

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards announced the return of its Canadian Concert Series for 2018

Cleaning up the highway

Members of Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive picked up garbage along Highway 97 in Trout Creek.

Summerland students to hold fair trade fair

One-day event will be held on May 27 in Memorial Park

‘N’ driver in McLaren caught going 70 km/hr in playground zone

Vancouver police said the driver was fined $368 and the luxury car impounded for seven days

Dr. LipJob ordered to stop doing botox and other medical procedures

Rajdeep Kaur Khakh ordered to stop unlawful practice of medicine

B.C. to prevent for-profit blood, plasma collection

Voluntary Blood Donations Act would make it illegal to pay for blood, plasma donations

Fire destroys historic house at Hilltop Gardens near Spences Bridge

Spences Bridge firefighters responded to the blaze, but were unable to save the house

Bill Cosby guilty in sexual assault case

Comedian convicted of drugging and molesting a woman

B.C. legislates recreational marijuana sales

Age limit 19, province retains wholesale cannabis monopoly

COLUMN: Stanley Cup playoff second-round predictions

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins continue their quest for their third straight Stanley Cup

B.C. seeks court ruling on new pipeline regulations

Province wants to require permits for any new bitumen transport

Most Read