CanadaJohn Horgan reacts to Jason Kenney's comments as B.C. signals intent to fight 'turn-off-the-taps' law
Opinion | Ottawa has climate-change questions, does Kenney have answers?
Alberta premier-elect Jason Kenney insists he is taking climate change seriously but his party's election platform suggests otherwise.
B.C.'s premier is set to react to strong words form his Alberta counterpart after Jason Kenney blamed him for driving up the price of gas and obstructing the progress of oil pipelines.
Kenney said B.C.'s obstruction of his province's oil and gas industry — specifically the blocking of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion — was the reason for gas prices topping $1.70 per litre in Metro Vancouver.
He then threatened to use the newly proclaimed legal tool to prod B.C. into approving the Trans Mountain project.
Shortly after Kenney's comments, provincial officials filed the legal paperwork signalling plans to fight Alberta's Bill 12 on the grounds that it's unconstitutional.
Director John Singleton on life support after stroke, rep says
Director John Singleton is on life support after suffering a stroke earlier this month, his spokesperson Shannon Barr told USA TODAY Monday. Despite some outlets reporting Singleton, 51, had died, Barr said the "Boyz n the Hood" director is "still on life support" and said any report to the contrary "is inaccurate." The hashtag #RIPJohnSingleton was trending on Twitter Monday morning as thousands of tweets poured in, first with condolences and then with confusion. His family revealed he'd suffered a stroke on April 17. "... Our beloved son/father, John Singleton, suffered a stroke while at the hospital...
Industry analysts and legal experts say Kenney's legal tool is a bluff and more pipelines are not guaranteed to cool the punishing prices at the pump.
They say soaring gas prices are caused by a combination of factors, from the 32 cents-a-litre tacked onto Metro Vancouver gasoline to a lack of supply — and of course, profits.
But Kenney says the high prices are Horgan's fault.
He stood beside his new energy minister Wednesday, warning that he's ready to use newly enacted "turn off the taps" legislation at any moment.
"We are serious about it. This is not some bluff. We will protect the value of Alberta's resources," Kenney said during a news conference Wednesday. When asked why he hasn't begun screwing shut those taps, he explained that he's agreed to talk further with Horgan.
Kenney names 20 ministers, three associates to first UCP cabinet
United Conservative Party Premier Jason Kenney named the members of his new cabinet at a ceremony Tuesday morning, which included 20 ministers and three associate ministers, including his promised leader to reduce red tape.
But he said the fix is simple: green-light Trans Mountain.
"We don't have enough pipeline capacity to ship both refined gas and unrefined bitumen to the Lower Mainland," Kenney said.
Gas industry analysts are not so sure. They say B.C.'s high gas prices are driven by a combination of taxes and a lack of refinery capacity, which, it has been argued by B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, might actually get worse if the Trans Mountain pipeline were twinned.
It's important to remember that Trans Mountain only carries a limited amount of gasoline alongside crude oil that must be refined, analysts say.
"Pipeline or no pipeline, it doesn't change the supply or availability of gasoline without a change in refining capacity," said Mason Hamilton, a petroleum markets analyst with the US Energy Information Administration.
As for Kenney's promise to cut off the supply altogether, legal and political experts question whether that will happen.
Balancing Alberta’s budget by 2022 will require tough choices on spending, taxes: economist
According to economist Trevor Tombe, balancing the budget by 2022 could work, but Alberta's new government would likely have to either implement a sales tax or make major cuts to spending. "Given current policy, before any changes that the new government will make, the fiscal hole -- in the long term -- that Alberta faces is roughly equivalent to a 10 per cent sales tax on the revenue side or reducing program spending by one out of every six dollars spent," Tombe said. "That fiscal gap between what spending projections are and what revenue projections are, that's large.
Bill 12 would face a challenge from this province and fail, said Joen Bakan, a constitutional expert with the University of B.C.
Bakan said that there are provisions in the law to prevent provinces from cutting off critical resources to each other — especially as political leverage.
Others describe the legal showdown as a sideshow.
University of Alberta political scientist Jared Wesley said Bill 12 is more of a political tool.
"They are picking a fight and they look good whether the courts hold it up or not. They look like they are standing up for Alberta's interest ... a lot of this is posturing," he said.
"An action taken by an energy minister to actually stop shipment to B.C. would be the constitutional and intergovernmental equivalent of a nuclear weapon and I don't think the Kenney government is in the mood to go that far."
B.C.'s request for injunction against Alberta turn-off-the-taps law delayed 1 month.
B.C.'s request for an injunction against Alberta's Bill 12, which would allow the province to restrict shipments of oil and gas to B.C., has been delayed one month. B.C. Attorney General David Eby's office confirmed the hearing has been tentatively rescheduled for June 6. The hearing was originally scheduled to be held at the Calgary Courts Centre Tuesday morning. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney enacted the bill into law on April 30, shortly after he and his new cabinet were sworn in. In response, B.C. filed legal paperwork at Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench for an injunction and constitutional challenge on May 1.