Just before boarding a plane for the Council of Confederation, Alberta Premier Alison Redford held her ground against Monday's demands by B.C. Premier Christy Clark for a bigger piece of the oilsands pie in exchange for a pipeline path to Kitimat.
Speaking at the legislature grounds at Tuesday's Premier kick-off breakfast for Capital EX, Redford said B.C.'s position on the Northern Gateway pipeline seems to challenge the way Canada works.
"I think from what we've seen there's very specific comments that I think are being made by the premier of British Columbia that would fundamentally change confederation," Redford said.
"We have in our provinces the right to resources ... the right to benefit from resources. We have a confederation which allows for people in each province to benefit from the resources they have, to retain jurisdiction over those resources and then to be part of a federal system that allows for transfer payments where there is economic success and those benefits get transferred across the country. That's been the success of Canada. And when we start looking at each particular commercial project from the perspective of what the economic benefits might be to a province, then that means that every single time that you have an economic project or a commercial project there has to be a new negotiation of the balance sheet. It's not how Canada has worked, it's not how Canada has succeeded and I'm disappointed to hear the comment," she said.
As for B.C.'s demand for a bigger piece of the pie when the current system would give our western neighbour an 8% cut on the Alberta bitumen moving toward Asian markets over the proposed 1,176 km pipeline from near Bruderheim, Redford ruled out royalty sharing.
"We will not share royalties, and I've seen nothing else proposed, and would not be prepared to consider anything else at this time," she said. "I've taken the approach that there are many ways that British Columbia will benefit from this pipeline."
Other demands tabled by B.C. on Monday included additional environmental monitoring and clean-up capacity in case of spills.
"It's terribly important to ensure there are environmental standards in place and environmental protection and that's what the federal regulatory process is about," Redford said.
So will she be able to sway Clark?
"We'll see today. We'll go to Halifax, we'll have a talk. It's always important to try to come to some common values and foundations. I think that's what makes Canada greatest, and we'll try to do that," Redford said.