Alberta uninterested in federal ‘handout’ if Teck mine rejected: minister

CALGARY — Alberta’s environment minister says the province is not interested in any federal handout if Ottawa rejects the proposed Frontier oilsands mine.

A Reuters report, citing unidentified sources, says the Liberal government is preparing an aid package for Alberta to dampen the impact if the $20.6-billion project is nixed.

Sources told the news agency that it could include cash to clean up inactive oil and gas wells, expanding the federal stabilization program or funding local infrastructure.

Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon says approval of the Frontier mine, proposed by Vancouver miner Teck Resources Ltd., should not be thought of as a gift from Ottawa.

He says it should be approved on its merits and notes a panel found this summer that the project would be in the national interest, despite its environmental impact.

Nixon says it would be best if the federal government would get out of Albertans’ way so they can create prosperity for the province and country.

“Albertans are not looking for a Justin Trudeau handout. We’re not interested in that,” Nixon told reporters in Calgary on Friday.

The federal cabinet has until the end of this month to make a decision on the Frontier mine, which would be build in northeastern Alberta near Wood Buffalo National Park.

Federal environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson said recently that Alberta’s efforts to combat climate change would be considered.

Nixon said Thursday that he has had positive meetings with his federal counterpart and the notion of a quid-pro-quo never came up.

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