Premier Redford turns up heat in royalty war of words with B.C.’s Christy Clark

Plans to raise issue over Northern Gateway revenues at Council of the Federation

By DARCY HENTON, Calgary Herald July 24, 2012 11:31 AM

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Alison Redford turned the heat up on British Columbia Tuesday over its demands for a share of Alberta’s oilsands royalties, accusing B.C. Premier Christy Clark of attempting to change Confederation.Clark will have to defend her province’s conditions to support an Alberta-B.C. bitumen pipeline at the Council of the Federation in Halifax Wednesday, Redford told reporters at a pancake breakfast at the Legislature.

“She said it and we’ll have to deal with it at the council,” Redford said.

The B.C. government demanded a greater share of the benefits of the proposed $5.5 billion Embridge pipeline Monday as one of five conditions to support the project.

Redford said that’s not the way the Confederation works.

“There’s no doubt some of the comments that we heard yesterday (Monday) from British Columbia will probably really bring that discussion to the floor,” the Alberta premier said.

She ruled out any chance Alberta will pony up royalty revenue to another province in exchange for project support.

“We will not share royalties, and I’ve seen nothing else proposed, and would not be prepared to consider anything else at this point in time,” Redford said.

She said she was disappointed with the position set out Monday by B.C.

“I think from what we’ve seen there are very specific comments that I think are being made by the premier of B.C that will fundamentally change Confederation,” Redford explained. “We have a Confederation which allows for people in each province to benefit from the resources they have, to retain jurisdiction over those resources, and then to be part of a federal system that allows for transfer payments where there’s economic success — and those benefits get transferred across the country.”

She said she will raise the issue with her fellow premiers when she presses for support for a Canadian energy strategy.

“I believe very strongly that it’s important for us as Albertans and as Canadians to be continuing to advance agendas that matter to the Canadian economy. I am looking forward to the discussion with other premiers on that.”

B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake said Monday his province needs a fair share of the benefits of the proposed Enbridge pipeline that will carry bitumen to the northern B.C. coast because B.C. faces 100 per cent of the risk in the event of a marine oil spill.

He said 8.2 per cent of the projected $81 billion in benefits over three decades is not enough, but he declined to say how much more B.C. wants to support the project. In addition to more revenue from the project, B.C. wants world-leading environmental measures to respond to oil spills and to prevent them, as well as opportunities for the Aboriginal communities along the pipeline corridor.

Approval of the pipeline is in the hands of a federal panel, but Lake said B.C. could withhold more than 60 permits required to build it.

The 1,170 km pipeline would carry bitumen from a terminal in Bruderheim, north of Edmonton, to Kitimat, B.C.

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