B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)
HALIFAX — A pipeline to bring Alberta oil east wouldn't be a national drain, premiers said at a meeting in Halifax Friday.
“What's really important is that this is driven by the private sector,” New Brunswick Premier David Alward said. “This ultimately will work if the private sector believes there is a business case.”
Alberta Premier Alison Redford is poised to discuss energy opportunities with Alward and Quebec Premier Pauline Marois.
Talk of the pipeline filled the halls in Halifax during the annual premiers' meeting.
“We are pleased by the fact that there are so many provinces that are interested in talking about what the challenges and opportunities are,” said Redford, who added she's open to discussions with
“I've always had the view that we are a province that exports our product … and we're always looking to open as much market access as we can.”
Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn't attend the meeting, his name was mentioned often and the discussions were designed to reach out to the federal government.
One issue the provinces want to work together on is enhancing skills in the workforce “so that all Canadians can compete in tomorrow's economy,” said Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter.
“The prime minister indicated that he felt this was the single most important challenge that was before Canada,” Dexter said. “We recognize what the prime minister has said. We want to be part of ensuring that we are able to deliver education skills training that is necessary.”
The premiers also want more control over immigration — a shared jurisdiction between the provinces and the feds.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty urged more flexibility for provinces because they understand best what their needs are and are better able to “develop new Canadians to contribute to the fullest.”
“Give us some more space; let us run with this,” McGuinty said.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said provinces should be able to pick their immigrants, where they settle and how many they'll get.
“Put simply, we would like to have a deal very much like the deal Quebec has," she said.
Marois was glad she attended the meeting, her first since being elected in September, despite calling it a “social club” in the summer.
“This is a place to meet and exchange ideas,” she said.
Being a sovereigntist doesn't mean she doesn't need to talk to her neighbours, she said.