Alberta fails to gain unanimous support for pipeline at western premiers meeting

Alberta fails to gain unanimous support for pipeline at western premiers meeting

Alberta failed to gain unanimous support for the Trans Mountain pipeline on Wednesday, after drawing a diplomatic line in the sand at the western premiers conference in Yellowknife.

Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman said she wanted the final communique from the meeting to express support for the pipeline project from all western provinces. She said Alberta wouldn't sign if it failed to garner political support for the pipeline.

Alberta did not receive the shared statement of support at Wednesday's meeting, and Hoffman ultimately did not sign the meeting document. 

"Although the issues discussed at the western premiers' conference are important to Canadians, it is Alberta's view that the Trans Mountain pipeline must be built if the country and its provinces are able to fund Canadian priorities, such as pharmacare," Hoffman said.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley pulled out of the meeting on Tuesday, citing the ongoing dispute over the Trans Mountain pipeline. Hoffman attended in her place. 

Hoffman said other issues being discussed, such as pharmacare, are ultimately moot if Canada can't agree on measures to produce the wealth needed to pay for such programs.

She stressed the importance of coming to a consensus given the looming deadline. 

Kinder Morgan has suspended all non-essential spending on the expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline through B.C., and has threatened to abandon the project by May 31 if roadblocks to construction aren't eliminated. 

"We're nine days away from one of the biggest decisions in contemporary infrastructure for our country," Hoffman said.

Leaders from western Canadian provinces and territories held a morning meeting Wednesday in the Northwest Territories capital.

B.C. Premier John Horgan's government is fighting the pipeline expansion, which would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to the British Columbia coast.

Alberta has repeatedly said the expansion is critical to the national economy.

The government has passed legislation that would allow it to reduce oil flowing to B.C., which could drive up gas prices and other fuel-related costs.