B.C. premier Christy Clark (right) and Alberta Premier Alison Redford hug after Clark gave Redford a bottle of B.C. wine at Friday's press conference in Kelowna.

B.C. premier Christy Clark (right) and Alberta Premier Alison Redford hug after Clark gave Redford a bottle of B.C. wine at Friday's press conference in Kelowna.

Western premiers Clark, Redford hug it out in Kelowna

B.C.'s Christy Clark and Alberta's Alison Redford show no signs of the 'frostiness' both women expressed after their last meeting.

By Kelowna standards it was a cool June day Friday. But it was obviously warm enough to thaw the relationship between B.C. Premier Christy Clark and her Alberta counterpart, Premier Alison Redford.

Just eight months ago both women described a similar meeting in Calgary as “frosty.” But that was then and this now.

On Friday, the two women, who have led their respective right-of-centre political parties to surprise provincial election victories within the last 14 months, met at the Delta Grand Hotel in Kelowna. And they made a very public show of their new found friendship.

First Clark and Redford took a quick photo-op stroll together along the lakeshore, coffee cups in hand, laughing and joking all the way. Then, following a 45-minute private meeting, they continued their chummy public ways during a press conference, where they hugged, praised each other, pointed out how alike their private and political life experience has been and Redford even applauded when Clark said she hoped to win the Westside-Kelowna byelection next month.

The Alberta premier said she was “on pins and needles” May 14 as she watched the election results roll in from B.C.

Like Redford did in April 2012, Clark led her party to a surprise victory in last month’s provincial election, despite public opinion polls putting her party well behind.

For her part, Clark gave Redford a bottle of wine from Quail’s Gate Winery, a West Kelowna winery owned by the man she wants to succeed in Westside-Kelowna, former Liberal MLA Ben Stewart.

Both wearing B.C. and Alberta flag lapel pins, the premiers were asked about that “frosty” relationship and both were quick to say there is more that unites B.C. and ALberta than divides it.

Shrugging off past disagreements over the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, the pair instead tried to focus on their new plan to work togethers on a number of economic development issues.

But the the biggest stumbling block of the pipeline kept coming up.

Asked directly if they spoke about the pipeline during their private meeting, Redford simply said no. Both she and Clark said they instead, they talked abut issues they have in common, such as the need for more economic development  in their respective provinces, the need for more skilled workers and the ongoing positive working relationship between B.C. and Alberta.

“It was a very productive meeting,” said Redford. “This (meeting) focused on what unites us.”

According to Clark, first and foremost, that is the need for skilled workers, even if they are brought in from outside Canada.

The premiers announced they have agreed to create a ministerial working group to look at immigration, labour and skills training because both provinces recognize they need to increase skills training and find skilled workers if they are going to continue to grow economically.

Clark described B.C. and Alberta as the two provinces that have the most to offer Canada right now and called the two province’s the “the best of friends.”

Throughout the press conference they the two women referred to each other by their first names.

They said they plan to meet and talk again at the upcoming Western Canadian premier’s meeting scheduled for Winnipeg next week and then again at the Council Of The Federation meeting in July in Ontario.

Heading into her meeting with Redford, Clark said the best way to improve the relationship between the two was to sit down a talk. And she welcomed Redford’s acceptance of her invitation to come to Kelowna to do just that.

 

 

 

 

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

t
Motorcyclist critically injured in Westside Road collision

Motorcyclist collides with vehicle, struck by another: preliminary police findings

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Kelowna mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead

Pair discovered in their Vancouver Island home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

Central Programs and Services on Richter Street.
COVID-19 exposure at Central Programs and Services

Interior Health annouces a COVID-19 exposure within Central Okanagan Schools

Tony Costa/ Facebook
UPDATE: Out-of-control fire burning above Peachland

The blaze sparked on Sunday and is believed to be lightning caused

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

B.C. lottery players have redeemed more than $44 million in winnings from Lotto 6/49 this year

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
UPDATE: Two churches on band land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Most Read