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Alberta Senator taking steps to end pipeline dispute

An Alberta Senator is prepared to take steps towards ending the pipeline dispute between Alberta and BC. He says not only is it in Alberta’s interst but also BC’s and the nations.

Doug Black says he has been a supporter of pipelines for the past four years now. He plans to read a bill into the senate Tuesday that declares the Trans Mountain Pipeline project in the national interest.

“That is an important [step]. It’s a bold move that gives the authority to get this pipeline built to Canada. So the games that British Columbia are playing, and make no doubt they are games, these are not legitimate processes they are following. They’re games.”

The inter-provincial squabble between the two provinces is over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, as Premier Rachel Notley says B.C. is trying to delay the project. On her most recent visit to Grande Prairie she said lawyers from Alberta had been working alongside those from the federal level.

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“I’m not going to reveal their hand, that’s their job. But we will continue to push them because we cannot let there be any delays as a result of the action of the B.C. government.”

Senator Black says he has also been communicating with provincial officials including Energy Minister/Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley MLA Marg McCuaig-Boyd and opposition part members as well. He says they have all been supportive of his plans to bring this issue to the senate.

The economic impacts of the projects have far reaching impacts. Cris Seppola-Podsada, chair of the Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce board, thinks the project could even improve the jobless rate.

“We can get people back east building pipes,” suggests Seppola-Podsada. “We can get people across western Canada getting the pipe into the ground, and I think that if we can get past our difficulties that are really presenting themselves interprovincially, we can help this country be more prosperous.”

Senator Black believes there are some big dollars being lost as the delays drag on.

“We’re losing $15 billion a year because of the price differential. $15 billion dollars a year for Canadians is 15 cancer hospitals. Or 750 schools. Or 30,000 miles of highway a year that we are letting dribble away.”

Black does have concerns about the Alberta governments heavy reliance on pipeline dollars going forward. He says if the NDP are wrong the province will be in a “very, very tough spot”

“[They’ll be] facing $100 billion debt. We all have mortgages and credit card debt, certainly most people do, including this person. And at some point you have to pay it back.”

The recently tabled provincial budget has a plan to balance the books by 2023 that relies heavily on revenue from Trans Mountain, Keystone XL and Enbridge Line 3.

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