HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says he's concerned over increasing inter-provincial tensions around the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Following a cabinet meeting Thursday, McNeil was asked whether he shared views expressed by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, who said the uncertainty was "decidedly unhelpful" to economic development in Western Canada and for the "general well being of the Canadian federation."
"Certainly," said McNeil. "I've been a believer that we should have access to both of our coasts when it comes to our natural resources."
The comments from both premiers come after Alberta announced Tuesday that it's banning wine from British Columbia because of B.C.'s plans to limit how much diluted bitumen can be shipped from its coast.
The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would triple capacity of the pipeline carrying oil from Alberta to a marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C.
McNeil said any product — whether it be Alberta oil or hydro power from Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and Quebec — should be shared with as many Canadians as possible.
"We've continued to rely on one customer, which is the United States," said McNeil. "The movement of that product to the West Coast makes sense to me and that product should be allowed to go into the marketplace."
McNeil said it's in the country's best interests that Alberta and British Columbia — both currently under NDP governments — sort out their differences.
"I was a supporter of the pipeline coming from Western Canada to the east," he said. "That was the case because it would have broadened the value of that resource (oil), which in turn would have put more revenue into the federal government, which in turn would have allowed them to invest in this country."
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has said her province is moving ahead with the wine ban even though it may violate interprovincial free-trade rules.
B.C. Premier John Horgan has defended his government's stance, saying it is responsible for keeping the coastline and inland waterways safe.
The federal government approved the expansion more than a year ago, saying it was in the national interest, but opponents have managed to delay construction and last week B.C. proposed regulations to ban increased flows of oil pending research into how a spill could be cleaned up.
The Canadian Press