Alberta Premier asks too much

Piping oil to the coast a risky business deserving of a higher share of the profits.

Dear editor,

Alberta Premier Allison Redford’s reaction to the conditions B.C. has placed on heavy oil pipelines is very disappointing, particularly her reaction to the condition that B.C. receive a fair share of the economic and fiscal benefits commensurate with the degree and nature of the risk borne by B.C.’s environment and taxpayers.

Heavy oil is unlike any other substance transported by pipeline. Pumping it across provincial boundaries and over hundreds of kilometres of rugged B.C. wilderness is simply not the same as pumping or transporting any other substance or product. What Alberta is asking of B.C. goes far beyond any existing interprovincial goods movement arrangement under confederation.

Moreover, Premier Redford’s position does not seem to be consistent with that of her own Energy Minister Ted Morton who, in February, agreed that there will have to be clearer benefits for B.C. in order to get the people of B.C. to support the Northern Gateway pipeline. As he said to the Globe and Mail editorial board: “[The issue of] equalizing risk-benefit ratios between B.C. and Alberta has to be addressed.”

Scott Harrison