NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. – Senior bureaucrats in Alberta and British Columbia have been tasked with thawing a frosty relationship between the two provinces around energy exports.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford and B.C. Premier Christy Clark emerged from a meeting of provincial premiers in Ontario to announce they have formed a working group led by the two top energy officials from each province.
Alberta and B.C. are at odds over the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would ship oilsands crude from Alberta, across northern B.C. and onto tankers heading for Asia.
B.C. doesn’t support to project as it sits right now.
The government has a list of conditions on any future oil pipeline development through the province.
Both premiers stress that Gateway is not the only reason for the working group.
“We understand in British Columbia, how important it is that natural resources get to the coast,” Clark said. “And Alberta understands that social licence is something that is important for moving resources, so we are going to work through some of those details together. You can’t do that if you don’t sit down and talk.”
Redford said B.C.’s conditions, which include that the province receive a “fair share” of the fiscal benefits from pipelines, will be part of discussions. Alberta has already said that sharing oil royalties is not on.
“One of the things that we will talk about are those five conditions and what they mean in real terms — in terms of the people that elected (Clark) to grow the economy less than a month ago, and what we are doing in Alberta,” Redford said.
There is no deadline for the group to report back.