Sometimes it’s hard not to see the hand of fate in certain synchronicities. That was certainly the case these past few days when a conference between Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers to discuss energy and climate issues coincided with a major pipeline leak near Fort McMurray, Alberta.
“It’s a huge step forward,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told the Star in an interview here Friday at the Council of the Federation meeting…
“This is not an incremental move. This is a pretty major step forward,” said Wynne, noting it will promote “cleaner, greener” renewable energy while at the same time helping oil- and natural gas-producing provinces safely transport their products.
“A strong economy and strong environmental protection . . . are not mutually exclusive,” she said, predicting premiers from “the oil-producing provinces are going to take heat for this.”[…]
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall played his hand beautifully by berating Wynne, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in the days leading up to the conference for being soft on pipelines and the tar sands, and by extension anti-energy sector workers. He continued to play his role in the aftermath of the talks, although reading between the lines it’s clear he’s pretty satisfied with the strategy:
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, the oil industry’s biggest champion at the Council of the Federation, admitted he did not get everything he wanted in the strategy.
“There’s some things that I was hoping to see in the energy strategy to a greater extent than perhaps had existed. One of them is around energy independence that speaks to right now even though Canada is home to roughly . . . the third greatest oil reserve on the planet, we import oil . . . because we haven’t been able to move it across the country or were able to,” said Wall, a pipeline proponent.
“So parts of Central Canada and Atlantic Canada have to import oil from other places, which just seems D-U-M-B dumb for any country that would have the oil reserves that we have,” he said.
But Wall, who had arrived in Newfoundland reminding equalization-receiving provinces that oil and gas wealth was bankrolling their transfer payments, admitted everyone put some water in their wine.
We had a meeting and we had some pretty frank discussions and I guess that’s what’s changed. It was a vigorous discussion,” he said, emphasizing “oil — it’s not a four-letter word.”
Maybe we should start spelling it oyul? Continue Reading