Two weeks ago, when British Columbia Premier John Horgan made a move to obstruct Kinder Morgan's plan to expand their Trans-Mountain pipeline project, Albertans couldn't believe their ears.
The plan would see Alberta bitumen flow into Burnaby before being sold overseas. Although the pipeline has been approved by the Federal government, B.C. wants to conduct additional safety studies before allowing more bitumen into the province.
Soon after, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley played some politics of her own when she banned B.C. wines from the province. There's no estimated financial implication of the ban, but Notley said Albertans purchase approximately $70 million worth of B.C. wine each year.
Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman pointed out that Notley's actions are a 180-degree shift from her previous ideological views.
"I view it as quite ironic, the way that Premier Notley is now prominently advocating for Albertan developments that weren't always the proper view of the NDP government."
In 2015, the government appointed Margaret McCuaig-Boyd as Energy Minister, despite her having no experience in the energy sector. It was later revealed that McCuaig-Boyd was registered as a lobbyist against the Northern Gateway and Energy East pipelines.
"[They were] seemingly not understanding where a lot of the wealth creation in Alberta came from," explained Strankman. "And, I think that now, ironically, they are having to defend the need for tax dollars to achieve their goal."
In response to the B.C. government's move, Notley created a Market Access Task Force. The Task Force is made up of leaders in the energy industry and former high-level politicians, and its primary goal right now is to come up with strategies moving forward.
"It's an interesting observation that oil -- or the energy sector -- is going to be defended by this government," said Strankman. "Because they initially, at the outset of some of their program developments -- The Climate Leadership Action Plan and the Oil Sands Advisory Group -- they were all against all this sort of stuff."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in on the issue with the National Observer on Feb. 15 explaining that "creating more access to overseas markets will actually get a better price for jobs, for workers, for the Canadian economy on our resources."