Environmental, aboriginal groups react to Alberta-B.C. energy agreement

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      The news that B.C. and Alberta’s premiers reached a framework agreement on energy today (November 5) was greeted with criticism by some environmental and aboriginal rights advocates.

      The deal announced by premiers Christy Clark and Alison Redford will see B.C. support Redford’s "Canadian Energy Strategy". The Alberta premier has also agreed to support Clark’s five conditions for the approval of heavy oil pipeline projects. Both leaders stated that Alberta’s royalties “are not on the table for negotiation”.

      “On condition five, Alberta agrees that B.C. has a right to negotiate with industry on appropriate economic benefits,” a press release issued by the two provinces stated. “Both governments agree it is not for the governments of Alberta and B.C. to negotiate these benefits.”

      Grand Chief Stewart Phillip called the deal “meaningless” and said the issue of aboriginal title must be resolved first.

      “Premier Clark and Premier Redford live in a world of denial with respect to indigenous land rights, and I think we’ve seen evidence of what unresolved indigenous rights can lead to with respect to conflicts of resource development in Rexton, New Brunswick,” Stewart told the Straight by phone.

      “So I think it’s time that both B.C. and Alberta wake up and smell the tear gas and know and understand that they need to deal with First Nations people and our unresolved aboriginal title issues first. There should be an engagement with First Nations first, before they begin making grandiose announcements about bilateral agreements.”

      For environmental group the Dogwood Initiative, the framework “raises more questions than answers”.

      "Today’s announcement does not change the fact that there is significant and widespread opposition of First Nations to these proposals, making it unlikely Enbridge will be able to satisfy Clark’s fourth condition related to First Nations rights and consultation,” the organization’s executive director, Will Horter, said in a news release.

      The conditions that Clark outlined in the lead-up to the May 14 election for the approval of heavy oil pipelines in B.C. were the successful completion of the environmental review process, “world-leading” practices for oil spill response and prevention, ensuring that legal requirements regarding aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed, and B.C. receiving a “fair share” of the economic benefits of proposed projects.

      The group Living Oceans Society also issued a press release dismissing today's deal.

      “It really means very little, when we consider that Premier Clark just released a report by Nuka Research that makes it clear that her condition concerning ‘effective oil spill response' cannot be met,” Karen Wristen, the executive director of the society, said in the release.

      “Quite apart from the impossibility of cleaning up spilled bitumen, there remains the completely unaddressed opposition of First Nations and a majority of British Columbians to seeing supertankers on the B.C. coast.”

      Meanwhile, Redford described the announcement as “good news for Alberta, for British Columbia and for all Canadians”.

      Clark called agreement on B.C.'s five conditions "a necessary first step" before any proposals can be considered.



      Carol Young.....Haida Nation

      Nov 5, 2013 at 10:48pm

      Good-bye Christy!!! You obviously do not represent the people of BC. Family first..was that not what you said. You meant......money first didn't you?


      Nov 6, 2013 at 1:25pm

      These are the same idiots that have run up a Structural Deficit in both Alberta & BC over the last Decade plus.

      Alberta is so mired in Debt that they are fudging the Accounts so as to be even less transparent, Enron Style.

      Despite record Oil Prices their so stupid in Alberta that they have a record structural Deficit, just follow Norways Model and keep 70% of the Profits instead of paying Big Oil to take the Oil away, Idiots.

      Now Crusty wants to do the same here. Without working out a Deal with First Nations and no Royalty Deal she has announced the Green light for Industry to build pipelines for Alberta's crude (given away for nothing).

      Surely we are not as stupid as Alberta giving away their Oil for nothing unlike Norway which keeps 70% of their Oil profits currently at $660 billion+++.


      Nov 6, 2013 at 2:14pm

      With all due respect to the Dogwood initiative, this 'agreement' does not 'raise more questions than answers'. The answer is clear: Christie Clark has always intended to allow Albertan bitumen to pour across our province. And now, after she surprisingly 'won' the provincial election (but not her own riding), we get to see the truth.

      John W.

      Nov 6, 2013 at 2:53pm

      There will be no return to the public unless the public gets a fair royalty for the exploitation of their resources. The recently announced royalty 'credit' is an example, and the BC Liberals even have the voodoo economics to claim a $116-million credit will generate $445-million five years from now.

      I think the big problem is that almost no one understands the whole issue of royalties. I'm including MSM and alternative journalists, and most politicians. I'm no expert, but I know enough to distrust the claims I see and hear.

      Alberta's explosive growth in tar sands development has two causes: A captive regulator who approved every application that crossed its desk; and pitifully low royalty rates designed to encourage development. That's why Alberta will not revenue share for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. Half a pittance is almost nothing!