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Alberta tries ads to win hearts and minds of anti-pipeline groups

During a press conference in Edmonton on Thursday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley gave some details on the province’s C$1.2 million ($940,000) advertising campaign launched on April 30, aimed at changing the hearts and minds of those Canadians in opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.

The advertising campaign has allocated C$700,000 for ads and billboards in British Columbia, alone, and Notley says the ads will continue until the pipeline is operational. And if the pipeline is built, it won’t be finished until December 2020 at the earliest, reports CBC Canada. That’s a lot of advertising.

The campaign, that includes using billboards, social media and buying radio and TV spots is designed to “provide the facts and make the case that Trans Mountain contributes to a stronger Canada.” However, no one really knows the final costs to the province.

One of the campaign ads being used.
One of the campaign ads being used.
Keep Canada Working Campaign

“We will continue to assess and re-assess the situation and (do) what is appropriate and necessary to get the project built, so I don’t have a final number for you,” said Cheryl Oates, the premier’s director of communications, in an email. “We will do what it takes.”

Alberta is not done, yet
Notley also announced Alberta planned to fully participate in the court reference case, announced last month by B.C. Premier John Horgan. The Liberal government is also seeking intervener status on the case.

“If British Columbia attains the right to throttle our resources, every other province will be given the same right,” Notley said. “The economic consequences would be severe throughout the country. B.C. should be, quite frankly, careful about what it asks for.”


Alberta’s Premier also pointed out that the province’s bill allowing the restriction of crude shipments to select provinces, like B.C., is expected to pass. Notley has already notified the B.C. government that any delaying tactics could bring serious consequences.

Basically, Bill 12, as the legislation is called, would give Alberta the power to restrict and redirect flows of oil, gasoline and natural gas to maximize profits. It would have the potential to cause gasoline and other fuel-related prices to spike in B.C.

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Parties on both sides of the House accepted an Alberta Party amendment to put a two-year limit on the bill. Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd told the house she thought the two-year limit on the legislation was reasonable and the amendment wouldn’t tie up the government’s hands.

Taking the fight to Vancouver
Notley is particularly upset by the comments Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson made in an interview with Bloomberg News in New York recently. Robertson claims the pipeline won’t be built because Canada needs to get out from under its dependence on fossil fuels.

Robertson’s comments “show a tremendous inability to look beyond the most local of borders,” Notley said. “They obviously demonstrate a lack of knowledge about what generates wealth in Canada.” Notley made one little slip-up in this remark – She should have said Robertson lacks the knowledge about what generates wealth in Alberta.

Notley says she plans on submitting an opinion piece to B.C. media to counter Robertson’s remarks. Speaking for Ottawa, Notley said the government is in “very serious and determined” discussions with Kinder Morgan, although she wouldn’t reveal and details on the discussions. “I’m optimistic that we will be successful in that task,” Notley said.

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