Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Leave Alberta out of B.C.’s pipeline demands: Redford

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, left, and B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

Jeff McIntosh and Ben Nelms

Alberta Premier Alison Redford says when it comes to the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline proposal she has nothing to talk about with British Columbia's Premier Christy Clark.

The two are in a very public spat over the proposed $6-billion project. And on Friday morning, that dispute goes behind closed doors as Ms. Redford kick-starts a debate over a pan-Canadian energy strategy at this last day of the Council of Federation gathering of premiers.

It is expected that Ms. Clark, who is demanding her province receive its "fair share" for the risk it is taking in the pipeline going from Alberta to the B.C. port of Kitimat, will raise the issue during the morning session.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Clark has come out hard on the issue, giving interviews and press conferences during the premiers' summit, vowing to block the pipeline if her conditions are not met. She has also demanded a meeting between Alberta, the federal government and her province.

And there were whispers in advance of the morning meeting that Ms. Clark might storm out of the session if she didn't get her say. Her officials, however, said that would not happen.

The tension is such at this meeting that those sorts of rumours were circulating. But Ms. Redford says the interplay between she and Premier Clark "doesn't feel awkward to me."

"I fully respect the fact that Premier Clark has a job to do and I have a job to do and that's as far as it goes," she said.

Ms. Redford has not held a press conference or scrum to address the dispute during the premiers' gathering – but she did speak to the Globe and Mail.

"I am not at all questioning whether or not Premier Clark thinks British Columbia should get a greater economic benefit," Ms. Redford said. "My view is that if British Columbia thinks it should get a greater economic benefit then it has fiscal levers to allow it to get those benefits."

Ms. Redford noted that the pipeline, proposed by Calgary-based Enbridge, is a commercial venture. It is not Alberta's pipeline.

Story continues below advertisement

She said that British Columbia could increase its port tax or "it could go to the same companies that pay us a royalty and say, 'you've extracted a resource, you want to export it to Asia, you are therefore making a profit as a result of that and we are going to tax your profits'."

"I don't know what decisions the government of British Columbia might want to make but they are not decisions that involve Alberta in any way," said Ms. Redford. "It's not a case where this is somehow subject to inter-provincial discussions or negotiations. These are fundamentally different things."

She repeated that these are decisions for the British Columbia government that do not involve Alberta.

"The idea that we've ever said that we would not talk and this somehow would foist this on us is simply not the case. We just don't believe that there is anything to talk about," said the Premier.

The Alberta premier has support from two senior Harper cabinet ministers, who argued this week that British Columbia's demand for a share of the pie would create a "toll gate" across the country.

In fact, Ms. Redford repeated, too, her view that Ms. Clark's demands for a share of the pie would "fundamentally change the nature of Confederation."

Story continues below advertisement

"It's not a case where this somehow be subject to inter-provincial discussions or negotiations," she said. "It's a commercial venture ... as soon as the proposition is put forward that somehow revenue sharing or royalties are on the table with a commercial venture that means that every other commercial venture would be subject to the same principle."

Ms. Redford noted that British Columbia oil and gas flows through pipeline from Alberta to the U.S.

"We have never said we should get a share of those royalties, again a commercial venture. And as soon as you start changing that principle, well now every single commercial venture is subject to balance sheet negotiations," she said.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.