Senator Gerry St.Germain (R) embraces Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during St. Germain's annual BBQ in Surrey, British Columbia August 6, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Andy Clark
Supporters attending an annual barbecue hosted by Conservative Sen. Gerry St. Germain surrounded Harper, who took to the podium late and didn't take media questions. His speech skirted the topic of Asian-Pacific trade and environmental review.
"We're expanding our trade linkages, something vital for B.C. is Canada's window on the Asia-Pacific. We have signed new deals with nine new countries, we're negotiating with 50 more," he said.
"We're ensuring that our environmental reviews are comprehensive, and that they are completed in a reasonable time frame, according to the principle of one project, one review."
It was Harper's first public appearance in the province since B.C. Premier Christy Clark laid out five demands - including financial compensation - that would need to be met to win the her government's support of the Enbridge pipeline. The $6-billion project would weave through northern B.C. to a port at Kitimat where oil tankers would ship crude oil to foreign markets.
"Not every one of these measures is easy or is popular with everybody, but they are all good for Canada," Harper said of critics.
Heritage Minister James Moore also attended St. Germain's barbeque after making headlines last week when he blasted Enbridge's environmental record.
On a CKNW radio show Wednesday, the longtime Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam MP said he had reservations about the pipeline coming through B.C.
"This project will not survive public scrutiny unless Enbridge takes far more seriously their obligation to engage the public and to answer those very legitimate questions about the way in which they've operated their business in the very recent past," he said.
His government, however, has long been seen as supportive of the project.
Moore's attack comes at a time when Enbridge is reeling from mounting negative press, including criticism over its handling of oil spills in the United States.
Clark didn't attend Monday's event. Her office said she was on holiday.
The Northern Gateway proposal, currently undergoing a joint review by the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, needs to be completed by the end of 2013.