Premier Alison Redford (centre) welcomed Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark to Alberta to discuss the New West Partnership as well as a potential Canadian energy strategy. The premiers of Canada's three western provinces met at Government House for a press conference.
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OTTAWA - Most premiers spent Thursday stepping carefully around the brewing dispute between Alberta and B.C. over oilsands pipelines and their economic spoils.
But two political leaders were more outspoken in voicing concern over the potential repercussions of B.C. Premier Christy Clark's pipeline stand.
The premiers are gathered in Halifax this week for their annual meeting.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale noted that Clark's threat to halt heavy oil pipeline development in her province could set a concerning precedent.
"I don't agree that provinces should be able to use their geographical location to hold off economic development for their sister provinces - that's not in the best interests of the country," she said.
"It means that we have to have difficult conversations, but we need to have them and we need to find resolutions that work for all of us."
And Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod told Sun News Network that as a northern region with plentiful resources, he's worried Clark's position would make it difficult - and expensive - to ship their oil and gas south. "We're not prepared to have our resources stranded and we're going to look at any option to get it out to the market," he said.
Earlier this week, the B.C. Liberals laid out five requirements that needed to be met before the province would back the $5.5 billion project that would carry Alberta crude to Kitimat, B.C., and then to Asian markets.
The demands included beefed up environmental oil spill safeguards and a greater share of the economic spinoffs of the projects, estimated to bring in $81 billion in tax revenues over 30 years - and came with a threat to kill the project if those demands weren't met.
The premiers won't be able to avoid the topic of energy Friday.
The national energy strategy - an idea championed by Alberta Premier Alison Redford -- tops the agenda.