It's not just Alberta's oil

It's not just Alberta's oil (Post)/a good letter from the National Post

Re: Martin Dismisses Criticism From Klein That Oil Is Alberta's To Sell, Oct. 12.

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein is only partly correct in claiming provincial proprietary interest in natural resources, including oil and gas. The provinces do have jurisdiction over the sale and regulation of privately held natural resources within each province. This is based on the legislative power to regulate transactions and the proprietary interest of the Crown in right of the province. But this does not make oil the province's to sell on international markets without regard for the larger national interest, nor does it justify intemperate, divisive, remarks of the kind made by Mr. Klein.

In fact, constitutional responsibilities for international and interprovincial trade and movement of goods, including natural resources such as oil and gas, fall within Ottawa's jurisdiction. In this respect, provincial authority is subject to legislation by the federal Parliament.

One highly valuable purpose of these constitutional arrangements is the protection of Canadians against interprovincial "divide and rule" tactics used by those hungry for our resources, who might pit, say, B.C.'s interest in softwood lumber against Alberta's in oil -- or, for that matter, the provinces' proprietary interests against the larger national interest and the interest of all the provinces collectively. At the end of the day, we are one nation.

It is important that neither the Prime Minister nor the Premier should pit Canadian against Canadian on this or on similar files. To do so would do the work of those would "divide and rule" in their own interests, and we would also lose the power of standing as one.

Brian D. Marlatt, White Rock, B.C.

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