Clark, Redford find common pipeline ground

Barnett: B.C.’s five pipeline principles must remain intact

On Nov. 7, Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford announced a “framework agreement” for pipeline expansion and development to the West Coast of British Columbia.

The main points of the “agreement” are Alberta will support B.C.’s demand for revenue sharing from the oil transportation and bitumen export, but it won’t come from Alberta’s resource royalties.

Meanwhile, B.C. agreed to support Alberta’s call for a national energy strategy.

These have been two of the sticking points at previous meetings of the two western premiers, during which Redford has adamantly refused to share revenue from the pipeline crossing British Columbia to ship bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands projects to Asian markets.

Clark said Redford reached a “broader understanding and acceptance” of B.C.’s five conditions and B.C. has agreed to join the Canadian Energy Strategy discussions started by Premier Redford.

In previous meetings, Redford has been adamant that none of Alberta’s resource royalties from oil sands crude will be shared. B.C. has argued that the oil producers and the federal government have to find a solution to the conditions for approval laid down by Clark.

Redford said her proposed national strategy is to address interprovincial projects such as pipelines, recognizing that energy is provincial jurisdiction.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett says the “framework agreement” announcement is good news.

“I think it’s always great to work with your neighbours. I think Western Canada has always been amputated from the rest of Canada, so the more we can work together the better we are, as long as we don’t lose our principles.

She adds the five principles Clark put out there for the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline have to remain intact “because the province has to be very strict on the regulatory regime.”

Clark’s principles include:

• Successful completion of an environmental review process. In Enbridge’s case, this means a recommendation by the Joint Review Panel that the project proceeds.

• World-leading marine oil-spill prevention and response systems to protect B.C. coastlines and ocean. • Enhancement of on-land spill response to world-leading standards.

• Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights must be addressed and First Nations must be provided with opportunities to benefit from these projects.

• B.C. must receive its fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of the Enbridge project and other proposals for heavy oil pipelines.

“You can compromise, but you still have to keep your principles.”

With Alberta royalty revenue sharing off the table, Barnett says the federal government and the private sector receive revenue.

“In my opinion, I’m sure those will be part of the revenue-sharing discussions. There is federal and provincial taxation and private-sector resource revenues. There are many things out there that you can sit down to discuss and negotiate.”

A federal review panel is preparing to make recommendations on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposed to run from Alberta to a new marine terminal at Kitimat.

With files from Tom Fletcher