EDMONTON (NEWS 1130) – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley will not being meeting with her counterparts at the Western Premiers’ Conference this week.
Her Communications Director, Cheryl Oates, says Notley has decided to stay home to work on securing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion ahead of the company’s end-of-May deadline.
With 10 days to go before Kinder Morgan’s deadline, Premier @RachelNotley ‘s only priority is to secure the construction of the pipeline. So, she won’t be going to the Western Premiers’ Conference in NWT, this week, she’ll be here in Alberta-ensuring we get a deal. #bcpoli #ABleg
— Cheryl Oates (@cherylanne) May 21, 2018
Notey herself also tweeted about her decision to pull out of the meetings, which start on Tuesday in Yellowknife.
It would be surreal and exceptionally tone deaf for anyone to think we could politely discuss pharmacare and cannabis when one of the players is hard at work trying to choke the economic lifeblood of the province and the country. #ableg #bcpoli
— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) May 21, 2018
Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman will be attending the conference on Notley’s behalf.
The BC Premier’s office says John Horgan will still be attending “he thinks it vitally important to talk with the western premiers about the shared issues that matter to people in BC, making life more affordable, improving the services people count on- Pharmacare being a major one.”
On Friday, Horgan said he didn’t expect any drama over the Trans Mountain pipeline project at the meetings, adding the two have been friends for 20 years and while they have differences on the pipeline, they are in agreement on a number of other matters.
Hamish Telford, political scientist at the University of the Fraser Valley, isn’t exactly surprised by this latest development in the pipeline dispute.
“It definitely isn’t because she’s afraid to show up or would expect arguments on pipelines,” he says “I think that this is a case of political grandstanding. She is sort of making a deceleration to her province that she’s fighting for their cause.”
He says with an election in Alberta a year away, the best thing Notley can do is send a message by staying at home and working towards the deadline Kinder Morgan has set.
“She’s under tremendous pressure now from a United Conservative opposition, led by Jason Kenny who if anything has been even harder, tougher on this issue so she wants to show her voters that she’s just as every bit as tough.”
Telford doesn’t believe Notley’s move will add any more pressure to Horgan, adding it will probably make the trip easier for him.
“Now he doesn’t have to face any of the discomfort of meeting face-to-face with a person he’s having a public battle with.”