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A few years from now, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark’s “frosty” meeting with her Alberta counterpart, Alison Redford, to discuss how to share the benefits of the Northern Gateway oil pipeline could rank right up there in the nation’s lore, alongside late Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed’s threat to turn off Alberta’s oil taps and Calgary mayor Ralph Klein’s infamous line: “Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark.”
This time, though, it’s a B.C. politician who’s dishing it out from Alberta. “I want her to know that if this project has any chance of succeeding, someone, probably her, needs to stand up and be the advocate for it,” a bold Premier Clark told the media on the front steps of McDougall Centre in Calgary on Monday afternoon, following a meeting with Ms. Redford that lasted barely longer than a bathroom break.
“The Enbridge pipeline, I know is very is important to Alberta and important to the country, but frankly in the context of British Columbia, given the risks and benefits, we are not there.”
Then Ms. Clark, looking sharp in her high heels and tailored jacket, launched into a rant about how B.C. has “bigger fish to fry” with its “trillion dollar” natural gas industry, which will rival Alberta’s oil sands in daily output — the equivalent of two million barrels a day — when its five liquefied natural gas terminals and five gas pipelines are up and running, and which is more palatable to British Columbians because it’s more environmentally benign.
“I have never seen a duck wash up on the shore covered in natural gas,” she said.
Ms. Redford dug in her own high heels and had a few comebacks of her own.
“I am an Albertan and when you talk about sharing Alberta’s royalties with other jurisdictions, things get a little bit frosty,” she said. “I gave her an opportunity to say that royalties were not on the table. She didn’t say that. That is a non-starter for us.”
It’s a big change from barely a year ago, when the two female trailblazers were standing side by side inside the same building and gushing platitudes about working together.
Truth is, this is the least opportune time for a meltdown in relations between Alberta and B.C. and the two premiers need a fresh start.
For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://business.financialpost.com/2012/10/02/fresh-start-needed-after-redford-and-clark-dig-in-heels-over-pipeline/