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Calgary fundraiser for BC Liberals to support oil sands agenda

More than 100 business elites are expected to attend a private fundraiser Thursday night for Christy Clark's B.C. Liberals -- in Calgary.

The event is reportedly being organized by Murray Edwards, chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, a major oil sands player; and three Conservative insiders, Morten Paulsen, Rod Love and Allan Hallman.

"If your company or organization does business in British Columbia (or perhaps if you or your family own property in B.C.)," a fundraising letter from the event reads, "you should be concerned about the risks posed by the election of a New Democratic Party government in the upcoming election in May of 2013."

Top of mind is Enbridge's Northern Gateway proposal, which NDP leader Adrian Dix has said in the past he opposes. (Dix last August announced he would withdraw the province from the pipeline's ongoing review process if elected premier, and set up a 'made in B.C.' review instead.)

Thursday's $125 per entrant fundraising dinner may seem a bit strange. Clark, after all, caused considerable tension in Alberta this past summer with her demand that B.C. get a "fair share" of Northern Gateway pipeline revenues.

But organizers of the event, which B.C. cabinet ministers Rich Coleman and Bill Bennett are expected to attend, have apparently chosen the lesser of two evils.

"We've got to educate Christy more on the benefits for Western Canada and Canada as a whole on the Gateway project," Hallman told the Edmonton Journal. "I think it's more of an educational project with her."

Clark on Wednesday brushed off any suggestion that raising money for her party in another province is unusual.

"You might be surprised at the political stripes of politicians in B.C. who go to Alberta and do fundraisers," Clark told reporters.

More than a thousand people protested outside the latest round of Northern Gateway hearings being held this week in Vancouver.

Geoff Dembicki reports on energy and climate change for The Tyee.

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