When Premier Rachel Notley invited the media into the first meeting of her market access task force Wednesday afternoon, you half expected to find campaign maps on the wall.

These would be the kind you see in war movies, with boldly drawn arrows indicating the movement of troops into enemy territory.

Make no mistake about it, even though Notley is calling her task force by the euphemism “market access,” it’s really a “retaliatory” task force. It has one bloody-minded job — to fight, using “any and all measures,” British Columbia’s opposition to the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to the West Coast from Alberta.

The 19-member task force met in the legislature’s cabinet room. It should be renamed the war room.

“B.C. has triggered a fight with Canada; this task force is helping us lead our response,” Notley said in a five-minute opening statement she made sure reporters were allowed to record. “We are going to discuss today further responses to B.C. beyond the wine ban and we are going to talk about potential responses to any attempt to frustrate progress on this important project.”

Most of the task force members were there in person, including Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Trade Minister Deron Bilous, Suncor representative Ginny Flood and a coterie of deputy ministers. Others took part by video link or by phone, including former Liberal deputy prime minister Anne McLellan and former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna.

Her speech wasn’t exactly Churchillian. She didn’t talk about fighting on the beaches and on the landing grounds. But she did say Alberta would never surrender.

“We are not standing down,” she declared several times. “We are going to keep the pressure on.”

The closed-door meeting lasted about 90 minutes and was more exploratory than declaratory. They had nothing to announce afterward except that they’ll meet again.

More than a political weapon

Those members not part of the Alberta government were careful to paint the task force as something larger than a mere political weapon for Notley to use against B.C. Premier John Horgan.

“It’s not just about Alberta versus B.C.,” former Syncrude president Jim Carter said after the meeting. “What this is about is moving the whole country forward. If we get bogged down on these things and we’re not able to develop our natural resources and bring them to market, all Canadians are going to suffer.”

Notley has said, and continues to say, the same thing.

But the premier has a …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal – Politics


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Premier Notley vows to “keep the pressure on” in trade war with B.C.

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