HALIFAX - Premier Christy Clark issued the following statement at the Council of the Federation meeting in Halifax:
"I have been pleased to participate in three days of productive meetings in Halifax and Lunenburg, and I want to thank Premier Dexter and all Nova Scotians for their warm hospitality.
"We made great progress together on health-care innovation and on setting a strategic direction for economic development in Canada. These are important priorities for British Columbians, and areas where we can be proud to offer many ideas and innovations for all of Canada. I want to thank Premiers Wall and Ghiz for their work on this.
"Another important area of discussion has been energy.
"Earlier this week, my government released a technical analysis of heavy oil pipeline proposals in British Columbia. That analysis informed five principles that must be addressed if we are to consider support for such pipeline developments in our province.
1. Successful completion of the formal environmental review processes.
2. World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for British Columbia.
3. World-leading practices for land spill prevention, response and recovery systems for British Columbia.
4. Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights must be addressed and First Nations be provided with the opportunities to benefit from these projects.
5. British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of proposed heavy oil projects that reflect the risk borne by the province.
"We released our five principles this week because we are preparing our cross-examination of Enbridge at the Joint Review Panel that is conducting the environmental assessment of the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Our position was also timely given the energy discussions anticipated here in Halifax.
"My government is committed to economic development, including the sustainable development of environmentally friendly natural gas. Development of that resource will require the construction of pipelines for transport of natural gas. My government is behind that development 100 per cent and we are enabling it.
"My government also understands the need to diversify our markets in Canada. Two of the three pillars in our jobs plan relate to market diversification.
"A key strategy developed as part of that jobs plan is in transportation. We are building on $22 billion in transportation infrastructure investments made over the past decade with a goal of $25 billion in further public and private spending. Those investments benefit all of Canada by making trade routes to Asian markets faster and more efficient.
"British Columbia is a leader in energy innovation in many ways. We have a carbon tax in British Columbia, we are hydro-powered, we are making significant investments in clean energy, and we are the first carbon-neutral jurisdiction in North America. Although not always universally supported, these commitments represent much about British Columbians, and our shared commitment to sustainable development.
"I am committed to working co-operatively with my fellow premiers on issues of national importance, and I am hopeful that as work continues on process to support a national energy strategy, there will be consideration of British Columbia's five principles with respect to heavy oil pipelines.
"British Columbia is the gateway to Asia, and we will be happy to re-join the discussions when we are satisfied our requirements will be addressed."