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VANCOUVER — B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark is adopting a harder line with the rest of the country on resource development, saying her province doesn’t need to carry Alberta oil to market to be an economic force in Confederation.
The governing Liberals are heading into the final week of an election campaign still trailing the opposition New Democratic Party.
A centrepiece of the Liberal campaign has been support for creating a new liquefied natural gas industry, which Ms. Clark touts as a clean alternative to Alberta oil that, once established, could retire the province’s debt.
On Sunday, Ms. Clark was pessimistic about the future of either of two current oil pipeline proposals that would move Alberta’s oil to the coast for export.
“The pipelines that are of most interest to British Columbians are liquefied natural gas,” Ms. Clark said Sunday in meeting with The Globe and Mail’s editorial board. “That’s something we can do and we don’t need the federal government and we don’t need Alberta,” Ms. Clark said. “We can do this ourselves and make this contribution to our country and our province without their help.”
While her predecessor Gordon Campbell spent his 12 years as premier establishing a non-combative working relationship with Ottawa, Ms. Clark has taken a more aggressive approach to national politics.
“When the people of British Columbia need someone who is going to stand up at the table for them nationally, I’m going to do it,” she said.
She said there is a natural inclination to “go along to get along” when sitting down with the other premiers. “When I talked about the five conditions when we met in Halifax, I was not very popular with my colleagues,” she said, referring to a premiers’ meeting last July. “Tough luck. I’m not sitting around the premiers’ table to be popular with my colleagues.”
Ms. Clark said the rest of the country needs B.C. to succeed on its own terms, noting that the western provinces collectively are a growing economic force contributing to Confederation at a time when Central Canada most needs it.
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