“We can do a better job of ensuring energy development is sustainable – that’s fair”, Wall said.
The notion of a Canadian energy strategy came about in 2012 under then-Alberta premier Alison Redford.
A related vision statement says the strategy should be “consistent with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” as it “contributes to continued economic growth and prosperity for all Canadians”.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall did not mince words as he arrived for the meeting.
“We need to have that reference on transportation and talk about energy and self-sufficiency”, he said.
“I think there is a growing sense of frustration here because our economies in the West have been creating significant opportunities for all Canadians”, Wall said.
Notley went farther in an interview with the CBC, saying her role at such meetings is “not about showboating or fun political statements”.
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said he’s optimistic the premiers can agree on a national plan that will set guidelines for new projects, such as the proposed Energy East pipeline while also protecting the environment.
“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.
Yet, any strategy that focuses on integrating energy development, environmental issues and other matters is welcome, said Brenda Kenny, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, whose members include Enbridge, TransCanada and Kinder Morgan.
“Energy in Canada is not only oil and gas, it’s also renewables – particularly hydroelectricity, in our case”, he said.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, whose government has said Energy East must meet seven conditions before being allowed through the province, sounded conciliatory and mindful of the Lac-Megantic oil-by-rail disaster in his province in 2013. “Balance has to be found”.
He said the energy industry creates jobs and its success funds programs such as equalization, which transfers money from the federal government to less-wealthy provinces, including Quebec and Ontario, to fund equal levels of public services.
The Premiers, including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Newfoundland Premier Paul Davis and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, added their names to a giant prescription form, prescribing federal leaders a healthy dose of phamacare.
“Whatever gets said in the lead-up to these decisions, whatever the positions are… we work to find a way to come to a shared position”, she told reporters. The Conservative government has not met with Canada’s premiers to discuss health care or to negotiate an agreement going forward as was done in the 2004 Health Accord.
It mentions energy self-sufficiency and adding value to what is exported.