LUNENBURG, N.S.—British Columbia Premier Christy Clark used a meeting of the premiers Wednesday to push for talks with Alberta and Ottawa to resolve a dispute over her demand for a greater share of the economic benefits from the Northern Gateway pipeline.
Clark said there is considerable environmental risk for her province if the $5.5-billion project is built, and B.C. needs to be properly compensated with a greater slice of the economic benefits from the project.
“My basic request is for Alberta and Canada to come to the table and sit down with British Columbia and work to figure out how we can resolve this,” Clark said after a meeting with other premiers, territorial and aboriginal leaders in Lunenburg, N.S.
“If that’s going to cause such a big problem that there are trade barriers, there is a very easy way to solve that—no pipeline.”
Her position has put her at loggerheads with Alberta Premier Alison Redford, who has flatly dismissed Clark’s position as one that would “fundamentally change Confederation” because it would mean new negotiations for projects throughout the country.
Clark declined to say precisely what amount of money she was seeking from the project.
“I don’t have a number for you today and I’m not going to negotiate that in public,” she said.
Redford said Wednesday she was open to Clark’s overtures to discuss the matter, but she didn’t believe the dispute would be resolved this week.
“There will be lots of time for opportunity and discussion,” Redford said.
“It would be wrong for anyone to characterize that we’re not going to talk, but at this point in time, this isn’t the week for it.”
Only 8.2 per cent of the Northern Gateway’s projected $81 billion tax revenue would flow to B.C. over a 30-year period, according to research commissioned by the B.C. government.
That equates to $6.7 billion for B.C., while Ottawa is expected to receive $36 billion and Alberta would earn $32 billion.
Saskatchewan is expected to top the remainder of the provinces in terms of tax benefit, receiving about $4 billion.
Clark said she hadn’t spoken to Redford in Nova Scotia on Wednesday, but she expected to over the next couple of days as the Council of the Federation meets in Halifax.