CLARK STANDING BY HER FIVE CONDITIONS FOR NORTHERN GATEWAY PIPELINE
UPDATE: 1 p.m. June 14, 2013
Alberta Premier Alison Redford was a little disappointed to find rainy weather in Kelowna for her meeting with B.C. Premier Christy Clark this morning. It was the first public meeting between the two premiers since the Liberals won the provincial election in May, and they presented a united front despite their previously frosty relations.
After taking a short tour around Kelowna's Delta Grand Hotel, Clark formally welcomed Redford to the city, also giving her condolences to those impacted by recent flooding in Fort McMurray, Alta. Clark then announced she looks forward to building a stronger partnership between two of Canada's “economic power houses.”
“We recognize that we have so much in common and so many interests that we need to pursue together,” she said. “British Columbia and Alberta have been friends for a long time.”
When asked where they stand after their disagreements over the Northern Gateway Pipeline which would carry crude oil from the Albertan tar sands through B.C., to be shipped by supertankers off the West Coast. Clark says she is more than willing to open up the dialogue on resource development projects.
“The way you get there is to start talking, and you have to make sure you have a friendly, respectful conversation which is what we have today,” she says. Redford agreed, saying any issues will be resolved when they pursue their mutual interest in growing the provincial economies.
“We are not opposed to economic development and we are not opposed to resource development. For heaven's sakes I was elected on a mandate for both,” Clark says.
However, Clark did say Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal can't go forward until it meets government expectations.
“We just didn't see the fact base that would support us being able to support the Enbridge proposal as it stands today,” she said. But the final Joint Review Panel decision on the pipeline is still coming and she says, “there's a few more months, so we'll see what happens with that.”
While Clark says her five conditions for ensuring the pipeline is advantageous to B.C. still stand, Redford says she's still optimistic the Enbridge proposal can go forward.
Whether B.C. would get a greater cut of profits from Northern Gateway is still up in the air.
“We'll have further conversation about that when it comes up,” Clark says.
The possibility of another highly controversial project, the expansion of the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline is also going through an environmental approval process and Clark says they are waiting to see what that proposal looks like.
“I don't think anyone's assumed it would be one or the other, but again these are...decisions that the private sector has to make.”
Redford also says there's enough Albertan oil to fill multiple pipelines, including the Keystone XL pipeline proposed for the United States.
“There's an awful lot of resource,” she says.
In addition to the issue of responsible resource development, the two discussed a ministerial working group for skills training, immigration and labor projects. A discussion they plan to continue at the Western Premier's Conference this weekend in Winnipeg.
Before leaving today's conference Clark surprised Redford with a souvenir from the Okanagan; a bottle of Pinot Noir from Kelowna's Quail's Gate Winery. Redford said she recognizes Kelowna is an important summer destination for many Albertans and congratulated Clark on her party's election victory.
“I had goosebumps that night,” she said.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at email@example.com or call (250)718-0428.
11:45 a.m. June 14, 2013
Premier Christy Clark and Alison Redford, premier of Alberta are at their podiums at The Delta Grand Hotel in Kelowna for a conference that began at 11:30 a.m. discussing a variety of topics, including building partnerships between the provinces. Clark took a moment to offer condolences about the recent Fort McMurray Alta. flood before the discussion moved to an open dialogue about resource development projects.
Before the conference began the pair took a moment to stroll around the boardwalk amidst the hoarde of cameras and media, on their way into the hotel.
The meeting and news conference began at 11:30 a.m.
More to come.