Eyes across North America are on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s meetings in China, but the president of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada says it’s the community of Kitimat on the British Columbia coast that is the one to watch to gauge whether the two countries can nail down a deeper energy relationship.
The proposed Northern Gateway from Alberta’s oil sands would end in the 9,000-resident coastal town. Then oil would be loaded on super tankers headed largely for China.
But Kitimat has remained cool to the controversial project, while embracing plans to build a handful of liquefied natural gas export terminals as well as a big upgrade of the Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter.
“The future of Canada-Asia energy relations is not about Beijing; it is about Kitimat,” Yuen Pau Woo said in a message posted on the web site of the Vancouver based group, a promoter of Canadian energy exports to Asia, after meetings with First Nations, industry and municipal leaders in the town.