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Premiers in Toronto to brainstorm national energy plan

Focus on factors including a transition to a lower carbon economy, R&D for more efficient energy production.


April 22, 2013
by The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Leaders of three Canadian provinces met last week to brainstorm the foundation of what they hope could become a national energy strategy.

“We’ve identified broad areas that we’re working on today,” Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said after the meeting in Toronto. “The idea now is to take these themes (and) develop the specific strategies with deliverables and practical projects.”

Selinger outlined the initial steps of the plan to reporters alongside Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale.

Included on the list are three broad areas: energy sustainability and conservation, technology and innovation and effective ways to deliver energy to people.

Within those areas, the premiers want to focus on such factors as a transition to a lower carbon economy, enhanced research and development for more efficient energy production and distribution technology, and improved timing for the regulatory process for energy projects.

“We want very practical things that can be done,” Selinger said. “We have examples all across the country of things that are going well, and we’re going to share them among each other and then let provinces identify what they want to run with, as they move forward.”

Other attendees at the event included Alberta energy minister Ken Hughes, Quebec minister of natural resources Martine Ouellet and Ontario Minister of Energy & Municipal Affairs Bob Chiarelli.

Redford has been the one leading the call for Canada to take a more unified approach to energy development, especially when it comes to building the pipeline infrastructure that’s needed to get oil and gas to new markets.

But natural resources development falls under provincial jurisdiction, and it has been a challenge so far getting all the provinces to subscribe to a single vision.

Selinger said the premiers hope to refine the plan before bringing to a Council of the Federation meeting of premiers in Niagara-on-the-Lake, scheduled to start on July 24.

©The Canadian Press