News / Vancouver

NDP's Jagmeet Singh wades in on new Alta. oil threat against B.C.

Notley threatens to cut oil ahead of B.C. protests, but Jagmeet Singh tells Metro he doesn't see it as a fight between two provinces—but the result of federal bungling

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in Metro Vancouver's newsroom on Thursday afternoon

Jennifer Gauthier / Metro

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in Metro Vancouver's newsroom on Thursday afternoon

Any hopes the NDP's internecine oil skirmish across the B.C.-Alta. border would ease faded Thursday, as Premier Rachel Notley threatened to cut off oil, potentially pushing Vancouver gas prices past $1.50 a litre.

"The Lower Mainland of B.C. in particular struggles from rather high gas prices and they have a very high sensitivity to supply changes," she told reporters. "What we are talking about doing is bringing in one tool that we may or may not ever use in a very large range of possibilities."

The idea matches United Conservative Party head Jason Kenney's cut-off call this week, and pits the B.C. and Alberta wings of the social democrat party against each other. Federal leader Jagmeet Singh opposes Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion.

Metro sat down with Singh shortly after Notley's comments to ask him about troubles in his own party's house, just one day ahead of mass protests by First Nations and environmentalists against Kinder Morgan's pipeline.

"At the end of the day, Rachel Notley is doing what she promised to do — to stand up for the people of Alberta," Singh said in Metro Vancouver's offices Thursday afternoon. "… And Premier Horgan is fighting for exactly what he promised to do: to protect the coastline.

"The Prime Minister is the one who broke the promise in this situation. It is the federal government's responsibility to negotiate these scenarios when you have an energy project."

He said Trudeau's adoption of the Tory-era pipeline approvals "widely considered a sham" broke his commitments to B.C. and the environment.

But Singh would not say if there was a level of threats made by the Alberta premier he would find unacceptable for a New Democrat.

"Tensions are high, because this is a serious issue," Singh replied, "but this is a squarely federal issue. It's why we have a federal government, and we need an independent decision-making process.

"I just don't accept the frame of a conflict between two provinces. I'm a federal leader, and it's clearly a federal responsibility. That's why I'm going to fight hard on this file, for a process that's consistent. That's why people are so upset."

—With files from The Canadian Press.

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