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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says many of Trump’s backers are in need of and want energy from Canada.

CODIE MCLACHLAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to have some unhappy supporters south of the border if he goes after Canadian energy with trade sanctions.

Notley, who is on a trade mission in China, says she doesn't know what Trump was talking about last week when he lumped energy in with what he considers are other trade irritants, including softwood lumber and dairy.

"We're not exactly sure what it is he was referring to," Notley said in a conference call Monday. "We're trying to get a sense of that."

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She noted that many of Trump's backers need and want energy from north of the border, so Canada is likely to have a lot of allies.

"The leadership of the U.S. administration is going to find that they have a lot of their own stakeholders reminding them how much they need Canadian energy," she said.

"It's not something as simple as just throwing a border adjustment tax, because in fact there will be huge consequences and cost increases for a number of different players throughout the U.S. should that happen."

Canada has found itself in the crosshairs as Trump pushes for what he says will be "very big changes" to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump has upped his rhetoric on NAFTA and is calling the deal a disaster that he plans to get rid of once and for all.

Notley said Trump's talk is another argument for expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline to the B.C. coast so Alberta's oil can be shipped to other markets overseas.

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