Skip to main content
// //

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has expressed support for three proposed pipelines that would link Alberta’s oil sands to the east and west coasts.

JASON FRANSON

Canadians are closer to seeing a new pipeline built in this country than at any point in the past year, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said on Tuesday, days before she marks her first year in office.

The Premier has expressed support in recent weeks for three proposed pipelines that would link Alberta's oil sands to the Atlantic Ocean, northern B.C.'s Pacific coast and an export terminal near Vancouver. One of those projects, the Northern Gateway pipeline from Edmonton to Kitimat, B.C., had seemed stalled before Ms. Notley told The Globe and Mail last week that she was dropping her opposition.

On Tuesday, she said that Canada was "absolutely" closer to a new pipeline due to her province's new carbon tax.

Story continues below advertisement

Responding to Ms. Notley's remarks, federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr agreed: "By virtue of the fact that there's more certainty and clocks are ticking on approval processes, we are closer to a decision, that's true," he said.

Along with stricter climate rules in Alberta, Ms. Notley said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet better understands the importance of building pipelines for Canada's economy. She said that includes accepting her view that the environment can be protected while also building new energy infrastructure.

"I think their understanding of the relatedness of the health of Alberta's energy industry to the health of the national economy has grown," she said on Tuesday from the provincial legislature in Edmonton.

Ms. Notley will bring a similar message to Washington on Wednesday, when she intends to tell American officials and opinion makers that Alberta has changed. With a new economy-wide carbon tax taking effect next year and a legislated cap on the size of carbon emissions from the oil sands, she said U.S. groups need to revisit opposition to the province's energy sector.

"Alberta is not the Alberta that they thought of a year ago, or two years ago, or three years ago," she said. "After years of inaction from the previous government, Alberta is now at the forefront in the fight against climate change."

Echoing the growing optimism in Alberta, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said in an interview that he believes the national discussion has turned in favour of building new pipelines. He said he is looking for a clear answer in 2016 on which projects will be built.

"My sense is that the federal government has created enough due process around additional environmental review and consultation that they will be well situated to give cabinet approval for these projects," he said on Monday, speaking from City Hall.

Story continues below advertisement

"I think that the [National Energy Board] is likely to say that the pending projects should go ahead."

Petroleum Services Association of Canada CEO Mark Salkeld said he believes there's real progress in the push to get new pipelines built, and he believes the federal government is taking the lead.

"We're trying to eliminate this parochialism, you know, between the provinces," he told reporters on Tuesday. "The federal government, in my mind, is stepping up to the plate and creating those conversations that we weren't having before."

On Tuesday, Mr. Carr and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna met with Mr. Salkeld's industry group, which represents oilfield service companies – a sector that has been hard hit by the oil price drop that began in the summer of 2014.

Mr. Carr said the federal Liberal government believes economic growth and environmental sustainability is one conversation. But the government also has an understanding that a transition to green infrastructure and technology "will not happen overnight."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies