B.C., Alberta premiers agree to more pipeline talks
Premier Alison Redford says royalties are still not on the table
Alberta Premier Alison Redford says she's willing to talk to B.C. Premier Christy Clark again about the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, but nothing's changed when it comes to royalties.
Clark invited Redford to a meeting on the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline when Clark is in Calgary early next week.
But the invitation, contained in a letter released publicly Wednesday, isn't exactly a thaw in the relationship that grew frosty over B.C.'s five demands that must be met before the province will support Enbridge's bid to build the pipeline, which would run from the Alberta oilsands across B.C. to the port of Kitimat.
"As you may know, there are a significant number of permits required for any pipeline project to proceed in British Columbia," Clark wrote.
Redford responded by saying she is willing to talk to Clark, but not about royalties.
"We are quite prepared to talk about a lot of those issues. I have absolutely no issue with talking to her about those," said Redford.
"The only thing that we have said, and that we continue to say, is that our position hasn't changed and royalties that are being paid to Albertans are not on the table and we won't discuss that."
All risk and no benefit for B.C.
Over the summer, Clark announced her province would be looking for a greater share of revenue from the project to offset what she said was a disproportionate risk to British Columbia's environment if Northern Gateway goes ahead.
The letter makes reference to that argument and goes on to note that she gave Redford and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall a heads up before she released B.C.'s position earlier this summer.
"My government has been clear: There are significant environmental risks associated with the Northern Gateway project proposal and, while there are significant economic benefits to Canada and Alberta, there are few benefits to British Columbia."
Clark noted B.C. supports natural resource extraction and the pipeline industry and offered as evidence B.C.'s support for several liquefied natural gas projects.
"I look forward to continuing a dialogue with you about opportunities to address British Columbia's five conditions. I recognize that there are significant benefits available to Alberta from the export of heavy oil to Asia and that this is something your government no doubt wishes to pursue."
Redford has said any sharing of royalties would amount to a rewriting of the Canadian Constitution.