Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reached out to British Columbians frustrated by high gasoline prices at a news conference in Edmonton Wednesday to confirm Bill 12 has been enacted into law.
Bill 12, the Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act, was passed under the previous NDP government but never enacted into law.
The bill was proclaimed into law Tuesday during the government’s first cabinet meeting, shortly after Kenney and his new United Conservative cabinet were sworn in.
Kenney insisted the law is merely a tool in Alberta’s tool box, not to be used until absolutely necessary. He said the current pipeline backlog is hurting people in British Columbia, and urged B.C. Premier John Horgan to get out of the way.
“Opposing the Trans Mountain Pipeline hurts all Canadians but British Columbians more than most,” Kenney said.
The provisions in the legislation are meant to be used as leverage if B.C. continues to stand in the way of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
Kenney said he spoke to Horgan on the phone on Tuesday night and plans to meet in person before the western premiers conference in late June.
Kenney op-ed says he’ll defend Alberta interests
In an op-ed in the Vancouver Sun, Kenney said he won’t turn off the oil taps to B.C. yet, but is serious about defending Alberta’s economic interests.
If proclaimed, the bill would create a licensing scheme for oil and gas suppliers, giving Alberta’s energy minister the power to decide how much fuel is exported to B.C., how it’s transported and whether direct shipments should be stopped altogether.
“The impetus for the act is to alleviate the resource backlog that has been exacerbated by delaying TMX,” Kenney wrote.
“Unfortunately, since coming into office in July 2017, the B.C. government has opposed the expansion project every step of the way.”
Bill 12 gives the government authority to require companies to obtain a licence before exporting energy products from Alberta via pipeline, rail or truck and includes natural gas, crude oil and refined fuels, such as gasoline and diesel.
Act calls for millions in fines
According to the act, export licences would be required for every company only if the energy minister determines it’s in the public interest to ensure adequate pipeline capacity is available.
Anyone who fails to comply with the act could face fines up to $10 million per day for companies or $1 million per day for individuals.
The plan was introduced by the NDP and was given royal assent last year, but had not yet been proclaimed as law.
BC’s attorney general said his province is ready to resume its legal battle if the bill is enacted.
David Eby said his government has been concerned about the constitutionality of Alberta’s legislation since it was introduced by the NDP government.
This story originally appeared on CBC