PM Harper and wife Laureen in Surrey, BC, August 6, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Andy Clark
OTTAWA -- If B.C. Premier Christy Clark is hoping the feds will step into her spat with Alberta over potential oil revenue from new pipelines, she's barking up the wrong tree.
"I'm not going to get into an argument or a discussion about how we divide hypothetical revenues," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in Vancouver.
His comments came when he was asked about Clark's demand that B.C. get a "fair share" of revenue if Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline is built to connect the oilsands in Alberta to a new tanker port in northern B.C. for export to Asia.
Harper discussed the pipeline proposal privately with Clark on Tuesday, but wouldn't say how the "private" talks went.
He also backed off explicit support for Northern Gateway.
"The government wants to see British Columbia's export trade continue to grow and diversify," Harper said.
"That's important, but projects have to be evaluated on their own merits."
While Northern Gateway regulatory hearings continue, Enbridge is trying to ease public fears about pipeline safety.
"Over the past two years we have doubled the number of staff dedicated to leak detection and pipeline control systems, and substantially strengthened our focus on the tools, technologies and strategies to ensure the fitness of our pipelines," the company said in a new post on its website.
Meanwhile, Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod appears to have backed off his recent comments that he was open to shipping Alberta oil northward if a new westward route isn't available.
"I'm not talking about bringing oil from Alberta north," he told Sun News Network on Tuesday.
Instead, he says he's just looking for an outlet for NWT resources if the territory can't send its "oil and gas east, west, or south."