Premier Notley vows to “keep the pressure on” in trade war with B.C.

When Premier Rachel Notley invited the media into the first meeting of her Market Access Task Force Wednesday afternoon, you half expected to find campaign maps on the wall.

These would be the kind you see in war movies with boldly drawn arrows indicating the movement of troops into enemy territory.

Make no mistake about it, even though Notley is calling her task force by the euphemism “market access,” it’s really a “retaliatory” task force. It has one bloody minded job — to fight, using “any and all measures,” British Columbia’s opposition to the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline to the West Coast from Alberta.

The 19-member task force met in the legislature’s cabinet room. It should be renamed the war room.

“B.C. has triggered a fight with Canada; this task force is helping us lead our response,” said Notley in a five-minute opening statement where she made sure media were allowed in to record it. “We are going to discuss today further responses to B.C. beyond the wine ban and we are going to talk about potential responses to any attempt to frustrate progress on this important project.”

Most of the task force members were there in person including Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Trade Minister Deron Bilous, Suncor representative Ginny Flood and a coterie of deputy ministers. Others took part by video link or by phone, including former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan and former New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna.

Her speech wasn’t exactly Churchillian. She didn’t talk about fighting on the beaches and on the landing grounds. But she did say Alberta would never surrender.

“We are not standing down,” she declared several times. “We are going to keep the pressure on.”

The closed-door meeting lasted about 90 minutes and was more exploratory than declaratory. They had nothing to announce afterward except that they’ll meet again.

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Source:: Edmonton Journal

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