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With the crack confessions of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford grabbing international headlines, and the expulsion of three wayward senators in Ottawa seizing what remained of the national spotlight, it was easy to overlook more substantive conversations taking place on Canada’s west coast. On Tuesday, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford agreed on a framework that paves the way for the construction of pipelines between the two provinces.
As part of the deal, Alberta agreed to accept B.C.’s “five conditions” for approval — with an important caveat: Alberta’s energy royalties would not be up for negotiation. During the summer of 2012, Clark had angered Redford when she demanded that B.C. get its “fair share” of the projected economic benefits of the pipeline. The tough stance was designed to score points in the upcoming provincial election, which Clark ultimately won, despite predictions her party would be turfed after a decade in power.