Former Alberta premier Alison Redford says the national energy strategy agreed upon by provincial premiers Friday will provide some level of certainty to the oil and gas industry.
She says the energy sector needs predictability when proposing projects that require significant investment.
"I think today gives them some certainty," Redford told CBC News in her first broadcast interview since leaving politics. "When they put projects together, in the long term, that they are able to rely on a system."
Having all the premiers onboard and contributing to the discussion, she says, will help give the industry confidence.
Redford was the one who began advocating for a national energy strategy three years ago. It's taken that long for officials to work on the policy and for provincial premiers to agree to it. Redford says the strategy made good progress considering all of the dynamics at play, including market changes and global climate change discussions.
"I've certainly learned a lot about politics in the last five or six years, in fact, I have to say I think three years is pretty good," says Redford.
Purpose of the national energy strategy
The strategy is intended to support common energy interests and address climate change.
On that front, early drafts of the provincial agreement reportedly contained references to hard targets for emissions reductions. Any such definitive language, however, is absent from the final document agreed to by the premiers.
Still, Redford is pleased that her former first minister colleagues were able to set aside their differences enough to build a framework that will guide provincial approaches to cross-country energy policy.
"I think it's wonderful for Canada and I really congratulate the premiers for doing that," says Redford.
"It's not always easy to come to the table with particular perspectives and to know that you want to advocate for the industries in your province or for environmental policies."
Redford wanted a national energy strategy so the provinces could agree on a way to export natural resources, including oil and bitumen from Alberta.
Redford on Notley
Although Alberta premier Rachel Notley is on the other side of the political aisle from Redford, Redford is nonetheless pleased with how the new government is representing the interests of the energy industry.
"She's a very strong leader, she's very articulate, very passionate about views she believes in," says Redford. "They are views shared by Albertans and they are views shared by industry as well."
The good will appears to go both ways. Speaking to reporters today, Notley said Redford deserves credit for the strategy.
Since becoming premier, Notley has faced criticism from the oil and gas industry for causing uncertainty in a sector that's facing difficult times due to lower commodity prices. Her government is already embarking on a review of provincial oil and gas royalties, as well as Alberta's climate change policy. The energy industry views the potential consequences of both with trepidation.
The new provincial energy pact, Redford suggests, should give them some comfort.
"I think it's important for industry to know where the parameters are and where the challenges are so that they have some certainty."