KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says it's "just dumb" that the Canadian economy is losing millions of dollars a day because the province can't get its oil to world markets.
Notley took her message on the importance of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to steelworkers meeting in Kamloops, B.C., Wednesday.
She warned them that jobs across the country — including theirs — are at risk every day the Trans Mountain project doesn't go ahead.
She repeated her oft-made observation that a shortage of pipelines means most of Alberta's oil moves by rail or truck to the United States.
That means it is selling for almost $50 less a barrel than on world markets.
Notley says that can't continue because it is costing the Canadian economy upwards of $80 million a day, or $60,000 every minute.
"We happily let billions of dollars evaporate from our economy so that Americans can pocket (it)," she told a conference of the United Steelworkers union in Western Canada on Wednesday.
"This is just dumb. It's just dumb. I can't get any more clear than this," she said to applause.
"It should be our money that is in our economy. Not the Americans'. It should be invested in Canadian priorities, not border walls and private prisons.
"But that is exactly what is happening right now."
Notley said the Trans Mountain project would bring $400 million in construction activity to the Kamloops area alone, as well as an added $6 billion in revenue to the British Columbia government over 20 years.
"Does it make sense to turn our backs on the tangible economic and community benefits that Trans Mountain will provide to communities throughout Canada?"
The expansion would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta's oilsands to the B.C. coast and from there via ocean tankers to world markets.
It has faced stiff opposition from the B.C. government, some First Nations and environmental groups. The federal government bought the line from Kinder Morgan earlier this year when the company voiced concerns about ongoing delays.
In August, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the federal government's approval of Trans Mountain. The court ruled more consultation with First Nations was needed as well as more study on the effects of increased tanker traffic.