Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice speak to reporters in Vancouver Monday.

Prentice skirts oil issue on first visit to B.C.

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice vows warm relations with B.C.'s Christy Clark after replacing Alison Redford

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice went all in for liquefied natural gas but tiptoed around oil pipelines in his first official visit to B.C.

Prentice won a seat in the Alberta legislature last week after taking over the ruling party in the wake of Alison Redford’s sudden resignation, a similar path to power as Premier Christy Clark. And his first out-of-province visit as premier was to Clark’s Vancouver cabinet office Monday.

Asked about getting Alberta’s oil to the B.C. coast, Prentice echoed his days as environment and industry minister in Stephen Harper’s federal cabinet.

“We talked about the importance of port investments, we talked about the importance of the environmental regime we both want to see off the west coast of Canada, which should be absolutely world class,” he said. “We talked about labour policies and the challenges we both face. And certainly we talked about the whole range of projects that are being proposed right now.”

Clark also avoided direct mention of oil pipelines, stressing the economic clout of Canada’s three western provinces to Asian trade. Both she and Prentice moved the topic to LNG, where Prentice vowed his full co-operation.

“Really it comes back to the fact that Alberta and British Columbia working together have the resources and the capacity to reach out into the Asia-Pacific Basin to provide what the world wants,” he said.

Prentice’s visit came as lawsuits and protests continued over the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposed for Alberta to Kitimat, and federal hearings on the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby and refineries in Washington state.