B.C. Premier Christy Clark speaks during a news conference after a meeting between Premiers and leaders of National Aboriginal Organizations in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, July 25, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/ADAM SCOTTI
OTTAWA - B.C. Premier Christy Clark is bringing her pipeline spat with Alberta to the East Coast.
Clark threatened once again to short-circuit the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project unless it came with a guarantee of more money for her province.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday as a meeting between Canada's premiers and territorial leaders got underway in Nova Scotia, Clark called on Alberta and Ottawa to come to the table and negotiate how to build the pipeline while meeting British Columbia's "bottom lines."
But if it became too difficult to resolve "there is a very easy way to solve that - no pipeline," she said.
Earlier this week, the B.C. Liberals laid out five demands 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.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford has so far shot down any invitation to discuss the demands, saying she was "disappointed" by Clark's stand.
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, who's hosting the summit, played down the tension between the two Western provinces Wednesday, saying his Canadian counterparts were focusing instead on the bigger picture - a national energy strategy.
"This is a discussion on a particular issue between two provinces," he told Sun News Network. "What we're focused on here is the issue of energy strategy and security."
Along with a pan-Canadian energy plan - an idea being championed by Redford - the premiers will be focusing on health care and federal-provincial relations.
On Tuesday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told a B.C. newspaper Clark was taking a "balkanized approach to the federation" that would create 10 separate "fiefdoms" across Canada.
Alberta Tory MP Brent Rathgeber also weighed into the debate on his website Wednesday, calling Clark's position "disingenuous."
The Council of the Federation meeting runs until Friday in Nova Scotia.
A joint review panel overseen by the National Energy Board is currently studying the viability of Enbridge's pipeline project and will table its report late next year.