Canada’s 13 premiers attended the Council of the Federation in St. John’s Newfoundland from July 15 to July 17 where they discussed various topics and formalized the Canadian Energy Strategy, which underlines the strategic importance of the energy industry to the Canadian economy.
“I was very pleased that we were in fact able to formalize the Canadian Energy Strategy,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. “My hope is that it will provide a solid foundation in that it includes a clear recognition on the part of all 13 provincial and territorial leaders in the important role the energy industry plays in the Canadian economy, the 100,000 jobs that are linked to it and the need to be able to safely and responsibly transport our energy across the country.”
Notley says that the document was originally designed by former premier Alison Redford as a means to start conversations about energy throughout all the provinces and also to raise awareness in different jurisdictions about the linkages and roles that are played and the benefits that are enjoyed from Canada’s energy industry.
“Obviously, from Alberta’s perspective, we were wanting people to understand more about the non-renewable energy industry,” she said. “So that’s what this achieved and it states principles and one of those principles is clearly that we need to be able to diversify our non-renewable energy market.”
The fact that the energy strategy is not a legally binding document was something Notley stressed, saying more conversation and negotiation between the “appropriate proponents” needs to happen before any actions are taken. She says the strategy is a good start, though, because it reflects a mutual understanding that is signed onto by all of Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders.
She described the Canadian Energy Strategy as a discussion document or an educational tool that outlines positions people will start from when they have discussions about things like pipelines that cross provinces.
“It is a high level document (but) will it create a pipeline project tomorrow? No. Will it ensure the premiers that are impacted by pipeline projects are committed to the fact that developing diversified markets for non-renewable energy is a critical issue to all of Canada? Yes. But there is still a lot of work to be done, it’s an absolute first step,” Notley said.
Some of the key points of the strategy, which was three years in the making, are as follows:
â€¢ Underline the strategic importance of the energy industry to the Canadian economy. “The energy sector has been a primary driver of Canada’s economy for many decades” are the first words in the document.
â€¢ Recognize that Alberta and other provinces are the “constitutional owners and managers” of Canada’s natural resources.
â€¢ Report that more than 280,000 Canadians are directly employed in the energy industry.
â€¢ Note the need to open and develop new markets, and to invest in new innovation and technology, if our energy industry is to continue make its contribution to the Canadian economy.
â€¢ Concurrently underline the need for Canada to effectively and comprehensively address climate change.