B.C. premier saves some fighting words for Ottawa
Christy Clark says federal government also has to address B.C.'s pipeline concerns
Much of B.C. Premier Christy Clark's criticism at a meeting of premiers in Halifax this week was aimed at Alberta Premier Alison Redford's proposed national energy strategy, but Clark also had some fighting words for Stephen Harper's Conservative government.
In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House, Clark told guest host Susan Lunn the federal government must also address the conditions she outlined for supporting pipeline proposals such as the Northern Gateway project, which would carry oil from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C.
Clark said the federal government has to make sure B.C. has world-leading marine oil spill and land spill protection "or we aren't even going to think about this."
The premier of B.C. also said Ottawa had to involve First Nations in a "meaningful way" and provide them with opportunities to benefit from such projects.
Finally, the federal government has to come up with "their piece of the benefits for B.C.," Clark said.
The conditions outlined by Clark included seeing a "fair share" of the fiscal and economic benefits to reflect "the risk" borne by the province.
When asked if taxes and royalties were the only way to settle this, Clark said "everything" had to be on the table.
But also in an interview airing Saturday on The House, Redford couldn't disagree more. She told Lunn, Alberta's royalties are off the table.
"When we start talking about sharing royalties, I do believe that means the proposal would change confederation. I don't think that's something that we're prepared to sit down and talk about at all," said the Alberta premier.
But even with royalties off the table, Redford said the B.C. premier has other tools at her disposal to get a bigger piece of the Northern Gateway Pipeline pie.
The Alberta premier said Clark could receive greater economic benefits by using "fiscal levers... including linear assessment, taxation on operations, increasing export taxes or port fees."
There are many ways to do that in a way that doesn't "impact Alberta at all," Redford said.
Boycotting a national energy strategy
Although Clark said she recognizes that there are a lot of good arguments in favour of a national energy strategy, she made it clear she would not sign on to any deal until her concerns around Enbridge's controversial pipeline project were addressed.
"It's good for Canada. It's fantastic for Alberta. But because of the environmental risk we're taking, it's not good for B.C... or at least, it's not good enough," Clark said.
When asked if there could be a national energy strategy without her province's participation, Clark said "the big opportunity" for Canada is to ship its oil to Asia.
"You can't call it a national energy strategy if the gateway to Asia is not part of the discussion," Clark said.
On Friday, cabinet minister John Baird said it's in Canada's interest "to ensure that we have more than one buyer for our resource exports."
"These type of exports create jobs and economic growth which benefit all Canadians," said Baird while speaking to reporters from Carleton University in Ottawa
Federal environmental reviews
Earlier in the week, Baird called Clark's conditions for approving the pipeline across B.C. "deeply disappointing."
During an interview with CBC News Network's Power & Politics on Wednesday, Baird said "we can't have a Canada where we try to toll gate different goods and services in different parts of the country."
"We should all be in the same boat rowing together," Baird said. "It's certainly not a welcome addition to federal-provincial relations."
Baird noted his government's "strong support" for the project, calling the oilsands a "great resource for Canada" that has to get to market.
He also mentioned recent efforts to expedite the federal government's environmental review process.
The B.C. premier said her province will cross-examine Enbridge at upcoming federal hearings on the proposed pipeline which get underway this fall.
The federal government's plan for 'Responsible Resources Development' became law when Bill C-38, the omnibus budget bill passed in June.
In an op-ed puplished in The Globe and Mail on Saturday, Clark said she was "disappointed" with the discussions she had with the premiers in Halifax.
British Columbians "support development and environmental protection – but not at any cost," Clark wrote.