Alberta premier says meeting over energy with B.C. premier postponed

VANCOUVER – Alberta Premier Alison Redford says a meeting with British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has been postponed.

Clark and Redford were scheduled to publicly discuss the progress of a joint energy export plan Tuesday in Vancouver following the Alberta premier’s address to the city’s Board of Trade.

But Redford said in a news release late Monday that there is still work to be done.

She said that Alberta thought that if it met British Columbia’s conditions for the Northern Gateway pipeline to bring oil to the coast, it could proceed.

Redford says British Columbia now wants to — quote — “negotiate additional benefits.”

Redford does not say what those additional benefits would be, but talks about putting additional charges on industry.

She said it’s not clear why B.C. thinks Alberta is the partner with which to negotiate.

“If the Government of B.C. decides to place additional charges on industry, that go beyond the federal and provincial restrictions on responsible resource development, this is not something for the Government of Alberta to negotiate — it is for the Government of B.C. to negotiate directly with producers and industry,” Redford said in the news release late Monday night.

Redford said Alberta is willing and “happy” to assist B.C. if that is what it wants to do.

Earlier this year, Clark and Redford clashed when Clark insisted that the Northern Gateway project meet several conditions, including strict environmental standards and assurances B.C. would receive a fair share of the economic benefits.

Then last month, it appeared the feud was ebbing as both Clark and Redford said they had identified shared goals like opening new markets and expanding export opportunities for oil, gas and other resources.

“Alberta understood that B.C.’s five conditions were designed to ensure responsible energy production and safe transport to new markets,” Redford said.

“Alberta’s firm belief is that meeting those conditions gives projects the social licence to proceed, as well as clear economic benefits for B.C. They also could mitigate the risk of increased shipments through B.C.

“It is now clear that B.C. is seeking to negotiate additional benefits.”