Premier Scott Moe had strong words for the Governments of Canada and B.C. during a post-budget luncheon in Prince Albert Tuesday.
Moe was responding to a question from a member of the business community about B.C’s efforts to block the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. The event was hosted by the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce. While Finance Minister Donna Harpauer was the one taking questions, when someone asked about the pipeline, she deferred to the Premier, who was also in attendance.
“We’ve been very vocal over the past number of weeks to the point where we’ve actually introduced a piece of legislation in the house that makes every free-trading bone in my body ache. It’s a piece of legislation that’s essentially turn-off-the-taps legislation,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate that we are in the situation where we even need to talk like this.”
Moe said the Saskatchewan economy, and the Canadian economy, loses out because it can only ship to the US. The pipeline would allow prairie oil to get to tidewater on the BC coast.
“We need access to that tidewater and we’ve been very vocal with our federal government. The fact of the matter is this is in their jurisdiction,” he said.
Moe said his government has commended the federal government where they deserve credit. While he thinks the government already has jurisdiction, he indicated he supports actions taken by the feds to introduce legislation or an order-in-council to re-assert their jurisdiction.
“Please do it quickly,” Moe implored.
He also said he would like the federal government to take stronger punitive action, similar to what it has done to Saskatchewan as the province has refused to sign on to a carbon pricing scheme.
“We’ve said they should go further,” Moe said.
“They just signed a $4.1 billion infrastructure deal with B.C., and they should hold those infrastructure dollars or a portion of those infrastructure dollars until B.C. starts to pull back on their meddling. They should hold some of those dollars because this is an area where the federal government clearly has jurisdiction, and they have shown they will withhold those dollars in areas where they don’t have jurisdiction. They should use every tool in their tool belt, and that includes withholding infrastructure funding to that province.”
Moe’s comments were appreciated by those in attendance, who responded with raucous applause.