Premier Clark's pipeline walkout provokes B.C. reaction
B.C. Premier Christy Clark's decision to walk out of talks on a national energy strategy at the premier's conference in Halifax today, quickly provoked strong reactions back in B.C., where the Northern Gateway Pipeline remains a top political issue.
Clark walked out of the meeting and held an impromptu scrum with reporters as Alberta Premier Alison Redford was leading the talks on her proposal to create a national energy strategy for Canada.
The two western premiers have been waging a war of words in the media in the lead-up to the meeting over Clark's claims that B.C. needs a greater share of the revenue from the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.
Clark says B.C. deserves a greater share for carrying the greatest share of the environmental risk for the crude oil pipeline, but Redford says she has no plans to renegotiate the terms of the deal with B.C.
On Friday in Halifax Clark told reporters she would not participate in talks on a national energy policy until the pipeline issue was addressed.
"It's not a national energy strategy if I don't sign on," said Clark.
"Until we see some progress in the discussions between British Columbia, Alberta and the federal government with respect to the Gateway pipeline through British Columbia, we will not be participating in the discussion of a national energy strategy."
B.C. politicians react
Back in B.C., federal MP's were quick to react to Clark's move.
The Conservative MP for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, Mark Strahl, told CBC News he doesn't believe the premier should be pulling out of the talks.
"I personally believe that the best way to influence a discussion is to be in the room, and to make your points known. But the premier's obviously made her decision and it's up to each province to decide how they're going to approach natural resources in their jurisdiction," said Strahl.
But Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra, Joyce Murray, was pleased to see the premier take a strong stance.
"It's good that she's standing up for British Columbia. Most British Columbians are concerned about this pipeline and the potential spills not only on the pipeline, but in the ocean and on the coast from the tanker traffic," said Murray.
B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake said Clark was standing up for B.C. and the five criteria the province laid out before it would approve the project.
"If there is consideration of the five principles, she'd be happy to rejoin the discussion when those principles can be addressed," said Lake.
"She is leaving the door open but it is a key principle that we need to ensure British Columbia's interests are protected when we are talking about a national energy strategy that talks about moving oil through B.C. down our coastline to the Pacific."