Alberta-B.C. pipeline feud is federal government’s responsibility, says NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh


The pipeline feud between British Columbia and Alberta is ramping up again and, while both provinces’ premiers are New Democrats, they could not be more divided on the issue.


Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal NDP, says he doesn’t see it as a fight between two provinces, but instead points the finger at the federal government.

“The frame of saying it’s a concern between two provinces is not the right frame,” Singh said.

“This is the responsibility of the federal government — this is why we have a federal government in the first place, to make decisions on these type of matters.”

However the issue is framed, the tension between the two provincial governments is not abating. 

Rachel Notley John Horgan collage

Jagmeet Singh says the problem isn’t with Premier Rachel Notley or Premier John Horgan, who are both “doing what they promised to do.” (Left: Richard Marion/CBC Radio-Canada, Right: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is threatening to cut off oil exports if she sees more moves to delay construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. B.C. Premier John Horgan continues to oppose the project.

“My concern isn’t with what either Premier Horgan or Premier Notley are doing; they are doing what they promised to do,” Singh told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC’s The Early Edition.

“[Notley] said she would put forward a strong climate change plan, she did, and it’s to defend the interests of Albertans,” he said. “[Horgan] promised he would defend the environment and defend the coastlines.”

Approval process

Singh, who opposes the pipeline expansion, believes the way in which the project was approved is at the heart of the issue.

He wants to see a new process that holds all energy projects — including this ongoing one — to three standards that consider climate change goals, local opportunities and the rights of Indigenous people.

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Pipes are seen at the pipe yard at the Trans Mountain facility in Kamloops, B.C. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

“We need to have a process that we can have confidence in and I think that’s the big concern,” he said. “What we would like to see happen is a modernized, independent, science-based energy project approval process.”

Singh vowed to continue putting pressure on the federal government for change in the process.

“I’m a federal leader who will hold the federal government — who is squarely responsible for this — to account,” he said.

Singh is making stops on Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan this week as part of a cross-country tour leading up to the federal election next year.

With files from The Early Edition.