ALBERTA

Raj Sherman Takes Alison Redford To Task Over Northern Gateway Pipeline

11/05/2013 07:00 EST | Updated 11/05/2013 08:47 EST

Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman is calling on Premier Alison Redford to take a stronger stance in negotiations with B.C. over the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

"This agreement is just a deal to make a deal," Sherman told The Huffington Post Alberta, referring to the announcement on Tuesday that the premiers plan to work through B.C.'s five conditions on the project.

"Premier Redford is just sitting on the sidelines hoping for the best," he says, "It's a failure of leadership."

The premiers have pledged to work together on four of the conditions, which primarily concern the environment and consultation with First Nations.

Sherman says Alberta needs to be more active when it comes to the the fifth and most contentions condition -- that B.C. receive what Premier Christy Clark calls a "fair share'' of the economic benefits of the project. The premiers say they've agreed that British Columbia is free to negotiate directly with the industry, rather than looking for a side deal between the two provinces.

"Alberta's voice is missing in the most crucial part of this negotiation," says Sherman. Redford should be brokering the deal, he says, bringing B.C. and industry to the table to reach a deal good for Albertans.

Alberta needs to "make sure we get our product to the coast as quickly and efficiently as possible," he added.

He also called on the federal and provincial governments to place a price on carbon and repair Alberta's environmental credibility.

"Premier Christy Clark has been calling the shots here and Premier Redford needs to get back in the game," said Sherman.

Redford "is missing in action."

A year ago, Clark and Redford clashed when Clark announced her five conditions in the run-up to B.C.'s provincial election campaign.

Clark famously described a meeting between the two leaders as "frosty.''

But earlier this year, the feud appeared to be ebbing as both Clark and Redford said they had identified shared goals such as opening new markets and expanding export opportunities for oil, gas and other resources.

They met in Kelowna in June, while Clark was running in a byelection, and declared their provinces "best friends.''

With files from The Canadian Press

Also on HuffPost

The Oil Sands and Canada's Environment