Alberta Premier Alison Redford says she hasn’t heard from B.C. Premier Christy Clark since the two were at odds over the Northern Gateway project at the recent premiers’ meeting, and she is forging ahead on her national energy strategy without her western neighbour.
Following a Tuesday speech focused on legal issues to the annual conference of the Canadian Bar Association, Ms. Redford told reporters the standoff continues on the issue of B.C. opposing the $6-billion pipeline project unless it gets a fair share of economic benefits from the initiative.
“She made her position very clear. Ours is very clear. Our position hasn’t changed,” Ms. Redford said in a meeting room at the Vancouver convention centre about a two-minute walk from Ms. Clark’s downtown Vancouver office. Ms. Clark is on vacation.
“We believe it’s very important for economic benefits to be spread across the country, and we don’t believe that fundamentally changing Confederation to allow that to happen is appropriate.”
Ms. Redford has raised concerns about the B.C. position impeding another province’s ability to benefit from its natural resources by interfering with the shipment of those resources.
On Tuesday, she said all political leaders should work together to ensure no particular province gets more or less access to international markets based on geographic location.
The Alberta premier suggested Ms. Clark may be at odds with other provincial and territorial leaders on energy issues.
“We have every other premier across this country understanding the importance of an energy economy and understanding it is important for all Canadians that we do work together. We’ll continue to do that.”
At the same time, she said B.C. should be free to review the merits of the Gateway proposal.
“It’s entirely appropriate for the people in British Columbia to have a discussion as to whether or not this makes sense on whether or not this makes sense for the people in British Columbia,” she told reporters.
However, she did not rule out future talks. “I’m sure at some point in the future another discussion will take place.”
Ms. Redford focused most of her speech on legal issues - as a lawyer, Ms. Redford worked with the bar association on various projects.
However, she did take a moment to tout the idea of a long-term discussion among all provinces on energy, referencing the working group on energy she is involved in with the premiers of Newfoundland and Manitoba.
Her closest reference to Gateway came with the observation that, “People have tied the concept of a Canadian energy strategy to a single project, but it’s so much larger than that and Canadians understand that.”