Alberta's deputy premier says Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's election promise to restrict the export of raw bitumen could infringe on the province's jurisdiction.
Harper said Friday during an election campaign stop in Calgary that his government would ban the export of the heavy black oil from Alberta to countries with lax environmental laws, specifically countries with more lenient greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies than Canada.
The federal government controls exports and international relations, but Deputy Premier Ron Stevens said natural resources are under the province's jurisdiction, and it has the right to ship its bitumen wherever it wants.
"Alberta has the responsibility for the development of its natural resources and that certainly includes bitumen," Stevens said. "It belongs to the Alberta people and if there is a federal government that is going to impact on our ability to sell the product, then we are very interested in having a discussion about that."
Stevens said the province was given no warning about the Conservative campaign promise.
"If, in fact, Mr. Harper and his team are successful and they wish to pursue this after Oct. 14 [the date of the federal election], I can tell you the Alberta government will be very keen on discussing what is meant by this and we'll be pursuing the matter with them at that time," Stevens said.
Large amounts of the raw oilsand product are already being shipped to the United States, and Enbridge Inc. is building a pipeline to the coast of British Columbia that could ship bitumen to any country wanting the product.