ALBERTA

BC Election 2013: Alberta's Oil And Gas Industry May Be Impacted By Outcome

05/13/2013 07:33 EDT | Updated 05/13/2013 07:33 EDT
CP

British Columbia's looming provincial election is expected to affect the fate of Alberta's pipelines going west, including the Northern Gateway pipeline and Kinder Morgan project.

Not all of B.C.'s election candidates support the development of these pipelines, including the NDP who are the front-runners so far. Their election may have a severe economic impact on Alberta.

"I think there are many governments that have an opportunity to show some leadership," said Alberta Premier Alison Redford about the B.C. election.

Party leaders including NDP Leader Adrian Dix and Green Leader Jane Sterk both oppose several pipeline projects. Conservative Leader John Cummins supports the projects but Liberal Leader and Premier Christy Clark has said she is in support but does not approve of what B.C. is entitled to under the current proposal.

If successful, the Kinder Morgan proposal would see expansion of the company's existing trans-mountain pipeline that delivers oil from Alberta to the Port of Vancouver.

Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline is a proposal to ship oilsands crude through northern B.C. to the West Coast port of Kitimat.

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Defend Our Coast Anti-Pipeline B.C. Protests (October 2012)

"Projects such as Enbridge Northern Gateway are not in our economic, our cultural, or our environmental interests," said Dix.

Redford has said Alberta faces a $6-billion revenue shortfall this year because oilsands crude fetches a discounted price in its sole market of the U.S., a loss she's termed the "bitumen bubble."

"Market access is fundamental to what we're doing," said Redford.

"It's one of the commitments we made to Albertans in the last election... to ensure that we were doing everything we could to open market access."

Redford says there has also been increased production in Alberta's oilsands. The approval of pipelines would inevitably lead to greater exports and fuel further investments because of increased access to markets.

Clark has remained noncommittal to the Northern Gateway or Kinder Morgan pipelines throughout the campaign, a move she has faced criticism over.

“The Premier’s position on both these pipelines appears to be ‘trust me.’ But if the price from Ottawa or Alberta is right, she’s prepared to support a massive increase in tankers and the environmental risks that they pose," Dix said.

But Canada can't afford to have B.C. become a `have-not' province that fails to contribute to Confederation, again, Clark said.

"British Columbians need us to succeed, absolutely... but every Canadian is depending on us too this time because there aren't a lot of `have' provinces left in this country."

With files from the Canadian Press