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CanadaFact-checking Jason Kenney: Is B.C.'s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices?

14:50  02 may  2019
14:50  02 may  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Swearing in: Jason Kenney's United Conservatives take over Alberta government

Swearing in: Jason Kenney's United Conservatives take over Alberta government EDMONTON — Former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney and his United Conservative Party are to officially take control of Alberta's government today. Kenney is to become Alberta's 18th premier and his cabinet members are to be sworn in during a ceremony at Government House in Edmonton. They are expected to get right to work with their first meeting immediately after. It will be the formal end of the four-year NDP government under Premier Rachel Notley. Kenney's UCP defeated the New Democrats in the provincial election April 16 when the party won 63 seats to the NDP's 24.

Two economists dispute Jason Kenney ' s claim that the B . C . government' s opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion project is behind high gas Is B . C .' s opposition to the pipeline to blame for high prices ? Prices at the pump have reached above .70 a litre in the Vancouver area in recent

That will reduce gas prices for Vancouverites," said Kenney . B . C . Premier John Horgan says an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline is no guarantee of lower gas prices and the current spike in Lower Fact - checking Jason Kenney : Is B . C .' s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices ?

Fact-checking Jason Kenney: Is B.C.'s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices?© Tanya Fletcher/CBC B.C. Attorney General David Eby filed suit against the Alberta government on Wednesday.

Alberta's new premier came out swinging on the morning of his first full day in office, blaming his counterparts in B.C. for record-high gas prices and promising to cut off their petroleum supply if necessary.

One of Jason Kenney's first moves as premier was to proclaim Bill 12, better known as the "turn off the taps" bill, and he followed it up with a forceful news conference Wednesday morning.

Kenney took aim at B.C. Premier John Horgan, saying his government's opposition to the planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline "hurts all Canadians, but British Columbians more than most." Here's a reality check on some of Kenney's claims.

‘Stay tuned’: Jason Kenney to proclaim ‘turn off the taps’ bill, won’t use it yet

‘Stay tuned’: Jason Kenney to proclaim ‘turn off the taps’ bill, won’t use it yet "I've been clear it is not our intention to reduce shipments or turn off the tap at this time," said the Alberta premier.

Fact - checking Jason Kenney : Is B . C .' s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices ? Alberta' s new premier came out swinging on the morning of his first full day in office, blaming his counterparts in B . C . for record- high gas prices and promising to cut off their petroleum supply if necessary.

Fact - checking Jason Kenney : Is B . C .' s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices ? Premier Kenney has also stated he' s ready to launch a constitutional challenge to Bill C -48, the federal bill that would prohibit tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude or persistent oil

Is B.C.'s opposition to the pipeline to blame for high prices?

Prices at the pump have reached above $1.70 a litre in the Vancouver area in recent weeks, and Alberta's premier would have you believe that's a direct result of the B.C. government's promise to fight Trans Mountain.

"Unfortunately, since coming to office in July of 2017, the B.C. government has opposed the expansion of this pipeline every step of the way — most recently at the British Columbia Court of Appeal — and in so doing they've driven up gasoline prices in the Lower Mainland," Kenney told reporters.

This claim seems to be based on the assumption that twinning the pipeline will lead to cheaper gas in B.C. (more on that in a bit) and that delays in completing the project are contributing to high prices.

Jason Kenney cites ‘deep frustration’ as Alberta’s ‘turn off the taps’ law is proclaimed

Jason Kenney cites ‘deep frustration’ as Alberta’s ‘turn off the taps’ law is proclaimed "We will never be afraid to stand up for Alberta," Kenney states in an editorial announcing the move.

Another is the fact that B . C . depends on the Cherry Point Refinery in Washington State for much of its gas , and the exchange rate has recently been less than favourable. Fact - checking Jason Kenney : Is B . C .' s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices ?

The political bickering over high gas prices has moved outside the walls of the B . C . Legislature and is now staring commuters directly in the face in the form of a billboard plastered next to a major Fact - checking Jason Kenney : Is B . C .' s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices ?

But there's no evidence that the case before the Court of Appeal, which asks if B.C. has the right to regulate the transport of oil within its borders, is responsible for those delays.

Fact-checking Jason Kenney: Is B.C.'s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices?© Jason Franson/The Canadian PressTwo economists dispute Jason Kenney's claim that the B.C. government's opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion project is behind high gas prices. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Werner Antweiler, an economist at the University of B.C., laughed when he heard Kenney's claim.

"There's no causality here. It's just like, you take two unrelated things, draw a connection in people's minds, but it's not actually there. So I have to call him out on that," he told CBC.

Andrew Leach, an energy economist at the University of Alberta, agreed.

"What's delayed Trans Mountain, it has very little to do with the actions of the B.C. government to date. It has more to do with the federal government's not meeting its duty to consult with First Nations and not adequately following up on it its responsibilities under the Species at Risk Act," Leach said.

John Horgan reacts to Jason Kenney's comments as B.C. signals intent to fight 'turn-off-the-taps' law

John Horgan reacts to Jason Kenney's comments as B.C. signals intent to fight 'turn-off-the-taps' law Alberta's Premier Jason Kenney is blaming B.C's obstruction of his province's oil and gas industry — specifically to the Trans Mountain expansion — for $1.70-per-litre gas prices in the lower mainland.

Fact - checking Jason Kenney : Is B . C .' s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices ? Ottawa plans to make Trans Mountain decision by June 18. Kung argues that Kenney ' s efforts as premier should shift toward what' s ahead for the province, rather than continuously going to bat for pipelines .

Text Fact - checking Jason Kenney : Is B . C .’ s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices ? Alberta’ s new premier came out swinging on the morning of his first full day in office, blaming his counterparts in B . C . for record- high gas prices and promising to cut off their petroleum supply if

Those failures by Ottawa are behind the Federal Court of Appeal's decision last summer to quash the approval for the expansion project, handing Trans Mountain a major setback.

Will the expanded pipeline mean more, and therefore cheaper, gas for B.C.?

This is a tricky one.

Supply is a major factor in B.C.'s gas prices — the province only has two refineries, and it depends on petroleum from Alberta and refined products from Washington state to make up the difference. When refineries cut back on production because of mechanical issues or scheduled maintenance, B.C.'s supply is pinched, and prices can soar.

Kenney's argument is that increasing Trans Mountain's capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 would relieve some of that pressure.

"Eight hundred [and ninety] thousand barrels per day will mean that we can increase shipments of refined products to the Lower Mainland. That will reduce gas prices for Vancouverites," he said Wednesday.

Fact-checking Jason Kenney: Is B.C.'s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices?© Evan Mitsui/CBCGas prices in B.C.'s Lower Mainland hit record highs in April. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

According to Trans Mountain, however, almost all of the additional capacity from the expansion project is already spoken for, and it's not going to B.C.

Jason Kenney says he’d prefer BC’s co-operation, but will ‘turn off the taps’ if necessary

Jason Kenney says he’d prefer BC’s co-operation, but will ‘turn off the taps’ if necessary After proclaiming Bill 12, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he would prefer to work with B.C. to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expanded, but he will block energy exports if necessary.

That will reduce gas prices for Vancouverites," said Kenney . Alberta' s Premier Jason Kenney is blaming B . C ' s obstruction of his province' s oil and gas industry — specifically to the Trans Mountain expansion Fact - checking Jason Kenney : Is B . C .' s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas .

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"Thirteen shippers have made long-term commitments for roughly 80 per cent of the capacity on the expanded pipeline. We expect the majority of the expansion capacity will be for export," the pipeline company said in an email.

That would still, theoretically, leave some extra capacity for refined products to be sent to the Lower Mainland.

Antweiler, for one, is optimistic that B.C.'s supply will go up and gas prices will go down once the expansion is complete.

But some evidence suggests otherwise. A 2015 analysis from oil and gas consultant Muse Stancil, prepared on behalf of Trans Mountain for hearings before the National Energy Board, says that "refined product shipments will not increase as a result of the Trans Mountain expansion project."

And independent economist Robyn Allan has argued that twinning the pipeline will actually cause gas prices to go up, because toll rates on the existing pipeline will more than double.

Is turning off the taps to B.C. constitutional?

This is the big question — does Alberta have the legal authority to choke B.C.'s petroleum supply?

B.C. Attorney General David Eby has filed a civil claim in Alberta, alleging the new law is unconstitutional, in part because it restricts trade across provincial borders, acts as an export tariff and illegally discriminates against B.C.

Political antagonists, Alberta's Jason Kenney and PM Trudeau to meet

Political antagonists, Alberta's Jason Kenney and PM Trudeau to meet Jason Kenney will meet face-to-face today with the political foe he attacked relentlessly in his successful bid to become Alberta's premier: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The two are to meet this afternoon in the Prime Minister's Office, just hours after Kenney is to testify before a Senate committee studying the government's bill to re-write the rules for environmental assessments of energy projects. Kenney, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, calls the bill the "No Pipelines Act" and wants it scrapped.

Fact - checking Jason Kenney : Is B . C .' s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices ? Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines.

In fact , it makes it worse as the more people on title; the greater the risk that tax exemption will be lost/reduced. Fact - checking Jason Kenney : Is B . C .' s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices ? 'A cursed day': Teen lives with pain of mother' s cold-hearted slaying.

Kenney has said his government will respond to those allegations in court.

But Joel Bakan, a constitutional law expert at the University of British Columbia, says the issue is fairly black and white.

"It's rare in Canadian constitutional law to have an open and shut case, but this is definitely one. The Alberta government is on very, very thin ice in terms of their legal argument," he told CBC News.

Fact-checking Jason Kenney: Is B.C.'s pipeline opposition to blame for high gas prices?© Jason Franson/The Canadian PressB.C. only has two refineries. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Some argue, however, that the legality isn't what matters.

"This whole issue of whether or not the Kenney government succeeds in having the legislation upheld in the courts is kind of beside the point," Jared Wesley, a political scientist at the University of Alberta, said.

"They're picking a fight and they look good whether the courts hold it up or not. They look like they're standing up for Alberta's interests whether or not they're actually able to use the legislation.

Read more

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.

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