BC Premier Christy Clark during a media event with Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Atlantic on the tarmac at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in Richmond, British Columbia, Thursday May 24, 2012.
Credits: CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI AGENCY
EDMONTON - Premier Alison Redford's efforts to get her fellow premiers to agree on a Canadian Energy Strategy took a hit Friday.
Redford was tight-lipped Friday after B.C. Premier Christy Clark was reported as saying the 1,176 km Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline planned to carry Alberta bitumen to Kitimat, B.C. and beyond appears to have "very large risks" and "very little reward" for B.C. so far.
The comments, reported by Postmedia, come as a blow prior to next week's Council of Federation Halifax meetup of provincial leaders - and on the heels of the Liberal premier's hushed visit to the Alberta Legislature on Thursday afternoon.
Clark requested a meeting with Premier Alison Redford -- and she also requested no press, so the visit was not announced, a staffer at Redford's communications office confirmed.
The meeting lasted 45 minutes, the staffer said.
Clark's efforts to dodge the provincial press corps reportedly included decoy VIP vehicles and a surreptitious side-door exit.
On the same trip, Clark paid a similar visit to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who supports the pipeline.
On her June mission to China, Redford outlined her Canadian Energy Strategy as an increased interprovincial collaboration.
"Under the strategy, every province will keep control of their own energy, but we will try to agree on common principles, to let us build infrastructure on each other's territory, agree on ways to protect the environment and compensate those affected and to obtain the social licence needed to increase production to meet global demands," she said.
It's three steps forward, two steps back for the Progressive Conservative premier's CES, which got the nod Thursday from the Standing Senate Committee on Energy's Environment and Natural Resources' report.
"The committee recommends collaborative leadership amongst all levels of government and, indeed, amongst all Canadians, to chart a course for the responsible development and marketing of our energy resources. This is exactly the approach that is needed and what I am advocating with a Canadian Energy Strategy," Redford said, adding building Canada's energy future is not about individual or provincial interests, but a pan-Canadian initiative to further enhance the prosperity of all Canadians.
"We need to build bridges, not barriers, and I hope that other provincial and federal leaders across this country would agree," she said.
"A foundation of a Canadian Energy Strategy, that all premiers have agreed on, is that it would respect each province's jurisdiction over its resources."
A staffer said Redford, who met earlier in the week with Ontario's Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty in Toronto, wasn't expected to make any other head-of-province calls prior to next week's Council of Federation in Halifax, which starts Tuesday and goes through Friday.
Meanwhile, Enbridge upped its commitment to the environment Friday, announcing $500 million for additional safety measures like increased scheduled inspections and thicker pipeline walls at water crossings.
The proposed $5.5 billion pipeline, which would start in the Bruderheim area, has met with some opposition from a number of B.C.'s Aboriginal communities as well as environmental lobby groups.
Energy Minister Ken Hughes said last month Alberta's land-locked bitumen lacks the pipeline capacity to get oil wealth to China and other markets in the Pacific Rim, costing producers $18 billion a year.