JOHN’S, N.L. – Canada’s premiers reached a deal Friday on a national energy strategy that supports both project development and the need to act on climate change, ending days of bickering over finding a balance between economic growth and environmental protection.
As the call for a national drug plan becomes more persistent, Premiers hailing from the west, the Atlantic provinces, central Canada and the north, who are from Liberal, PC and NDP backgrounds, all joined together to call on the Federal Government to put the heath of Canadians first and bring prescription medications under our Medicare system.
These include the Energy East pipeline proposed by TransCanada Corp, which is also trying to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline through the United States.
The premiers will instead commit generally to having the “necessary pipelines” in place and expediting regulatory decisions, the Globe and Mail, citing a draft of the plan, reported Monday. Alberta, Canada’s heaviest emitter, was in an election campaign and not among those to sign. Premiers were reviewing the strategy Friday morning after their officials had tweaked it overnight.
“I’m not at all fussed that the strategy might or might not have any specific, binding outcomes”, Kenny said in an interview.
The Canadian Energy Strategy is, the premiers said in a joint news release, “a demonstration of their commitment to strengthening the economy, creating jobs, ensuring a secure supply of energy for all Canadians, supporting energy innovation and addressing climate change”.
“This is the moment when Premier Notley should be signalling a new direction for Alberta that recognizes a strong national energy strategy must be informed by strong climate goals”, said Louise Comeau, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada.
Agreement on a national plan to guide future energy projects while also protecting the environment has been on the premiers’ agenda since 2012.
A remaining hurdle for finalizing the strategy is said to be differences between Quebec and Newfoundland over power transmission, according to two officials.
The strategy comes after Premier Brad Wall of Saskatchewan originally criticized some of his colleagues for failing to highlight the importance of the oil and gas industries to the economy.
Wynne, who said this year her province would create a cap- and-trade system to limit emissions, has regularly clashed with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper over emissions policy and said last week a deal was close.
“We are an energy province and my job is to make sure that we can grow prosperity in Alberta as well as across the country, and so we’re going to continue to do that”, she told reporters Wednesday. Notley spokeswoman Cheryl Oates declined to comment.