A former senior minister in the Stephen Harper government has come up with a novel argument for forcing British Columbia to accept Kinder Morgan's $7.4-billion Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.
Jason Kenney, now the leader of Alberta's United Conservative Party, has launched a petition urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to "invoke the 'declaratory power' of the Constitution to declare BC's actions as being against the national interest".
He's called on Trudeau "to step and end the BC NDP's obstruction" of the pipeline.
This came after Environment and Climate Strategy Minister George Heyman announced that a scientific advisory panel would examine how best to prevent and address spills of diluted bitumen.
Kinder Morgan plans to triple shipments to 890,000 barrels per day from Alberta to the Lower Mainland in a pipeline that was approved by the Trudeau government.
This morning, Kenney tweeted that he has met with his "friend", Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, to discuss "the need for the federal government to stand up for the economic union of Canada".
When Alberta MP Michelle Rempel echoed Kenney's call over Twitter, she received the following reply from Victoria resident Norman Spector, who was chief of staff to Brian Mulroney when he was prime minister: "Something that no federal government in your lifetime has done".
The long-time former chief of staff to B.C. premier Gordon Campbell, Martyn Brown, has ridiculed Alberta premier Rachel Notley for banning the importation of B.C. wines into her province over this issue.
Brown noted on Straight.com that Notley is alleging that B.C. has violated the constitution by planning to develop "restrictions on the increase of diluted bitumen transportation until the behaviour of spilled bitumen can be better understood and there is certainty regarding the ability to adequately mitigate spills".
This led Brown to characterize Trudeau and Notley as "Dumb and Dumber" because they "haven't a clue how all this might end, tumbling blindly into boiling waters heated by their own hand".
You can read Brown's entire column here.
The National Energy Board's review of Kinder Morgan's pipeline did not take into consideration upstream or downstream greenhouse gas emissions.
The NEB also didn't allow a submission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because it missed a deadline, according to DeSmog Canada.
Ecojustice lawyer Josh Ginsberg has identified other shortcomings in the regulatory process.
"During the review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion project, the NEB inexplicably removed oral cross-examination as a component of the hearing and instead relied on written questions and answers as a means to test evidence," Ginsberg wrote in April.
He described cross-examination as "the most thorough way to test evidence".
Meanwhile in October, Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Julie Gelfand said that the federal government will not come close to achieving its greenhouse-gas emissions target for 2020.