Premier Moe calls for federal government to ramp up talks with B.C. ahead of pipeline deadline

Premier Moe calls for federal government to ramp up talks with B.C. ahead of pipeline deadline

With nine days to go in the deadline for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to begin, Premier Scott Moe is calling on the federal government to ramp up its efforts to ensure the project moves ahead.

Speaking to reporters following the Western Premiers' conference in Yellowknife on Wednesday, Moe said it's up to Ottawa to get the pipeline going.

He urged the federal government to "take up residence in Victoria and start open discussions with those most closely involved."

Moe said conversations, to his knowledge, are not happening at the rate they should be, and said talks, "need to be ramped up, need to be more frequent and need to be more intense."

Moe said he was "cautiously optimistic" that construction would move ahead by Kinder Morgan's self-declared deadline of May 31.

"No minds were changed at this meeting," Moe said.

B.C. sues Alberta 

B.C. Premier John Horgan—who has voiced his government's opposition to the project—was in Yellowknife but Alberta Premier Rachel Notley did not attend. She said the pipeline issue required her to stay in Alberta.

"I understand Premier Notley's frustration, I share her frustrations," Moe said.

Notley sent her deputy premier to the meeting in her place.

The pipeline saga took another turn on Tuesday with the B.C. government suing Alberta for its recently-enacted legislation which would restrict energy exports to B.C.

Saskatchewan has introduced—but not passed—similar legislation.

B.C.'s Attorney General said his province is not responsible for the delays and Alberta's law seeks to punish B.C.

"We have granted permits at the same pace and with the same process as the previous [B.C.] government," he said Tuesday.

"There has been a mischaracterization of B.C.'s role here."

Notley disagreed that B.C. has not caused delays, citing its court action as an example.

Kinder Morgan has set a deadline of May 31 to decide if it will continue with the project.