|Alberta Premier Alison Redford delivers a keynote address to B.C.'s business leaders at The Vancouver Board of Trade's Energy Forum 2013. Photo by Sara Borck Photography |
By Greg Hoekstra
Just one hour after unveiling a new energy agreement between Alberta and B.C., Premier Alison Redford stood before a sold-out crowd at The Vancouver Board of Trade and emphasized the crucial need for cooperation between the two provinces.
“B.C. is Alberta’s gateway to Asia, and our second-largest provincial export market, while Alberta is B.C.’s entry point to the North-American heartland and, by far, its biggest provincial export destination,” said Redford, in her keynote address at Energy Forum 2013, held Nov. 5. “Our provinces share economic destinies.”
The framework agreement between the two provinces was announced by Redford and B.C. Premier Christy Clark earlier that morning, after officials from both provinces “worked through the night” to finalize the deal.
Under the framework, Alberta has agreed to B.C.’s five conditions for new oil pipelines – including the right for B.C. to negotiate with industry on “appropriate economic benefits” for our province. In return, Clark agreed that B.C. will not seek a cut of Alberta’s royalty or tax revenues, and pledged our province would support Redford’s Canadian Energy Strategy.
“We are in a battle for Canada’s future,” said Redford, to a room packed with many of B.C.’s business leaders. “Our provinces both have unemployment rates well below the national average. We both anticipate strong economic growth in the natural resources sector and we are both looking for emerging economies to export to across the Pacific. Together we are truly Canada’s economic engine.”
Following her keynote address, Redford took part in a “fireside chat” on stage with Gary Mason, National Affairs Columnist for The Globe and Mail. The candid conversation about Canada’s energy future concluded with a standing ovation for the visiting Premier.
The forum kicked off in the morning with a keynote address by Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada, on the economic opportunity presented by the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project. In his remarks, Anderson stressed that the expansion project had the potential to greatly impact and improve communities along the existing pipeline route.
If approved, Anderson estimated that $423 million would be spent in communities during construction, and another half a billion would be paid over the next two decades through increased property taxes.
“An additional $500 million in property taxes paid on the expansion over 20 years – that’s a lot of police, firefighters, and fixed potholes,” said Anderson.
Anderson’s presentation was followed by remarks by Greg Stringham, Vice President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, who expressed optimism at the positive step forward announced by Clark and Redford that morning.
“We still know there’s a ton of work left,” he told the room of nearly 400 delegates. “It was very good to see that they can come together and say, ‘We’re going to work to try to resolve these things.’”
For a full photo gallery from the event, visit www.facebook.com/vancouverboardoftrade.