Energy strategy needed despite B.C. concerns: think-tank
The Canadian Press
Posted: Aug 3, 2012 9:28 AM MT
Last Updated: Aug 3, 2012 9:27 AM MT
A report by the Calgary-based Energy Policy Institute of Canada recommends work begin immediately on a national energy strategy, with or without the initial support of British Columbia.
"We are continuing our work, the other premiers are considering their work and we're saying to British Columbia when you're ready to join our deliberations we welcome you," said Doug Black, president of the institute, at a Calgary news conference Thursday.
"Certainly British Columbia is very, very important. I acknowledge this is a political problem but our work cannot stop."
B.C. Premier Christy Clark refused last week to join her provincial counterparts in crafting a national energy strategy, insisting that a public feud over the Northern Gateway pipeline has to be resolved before she can proceed.
She said she wouldn't endorse a deal before discussions take place with Ottawa and Alberta over how B.C. would be compensated for allowing the $6-billion pipeline to carry heavy oil to the B.C. coast to be loaded onto tankers bound for Asia.
Black, however, stressed the importance of striking an energy deal.
"I believe in the fullness of time when we look back on this discussion, we will consider this a small setback," Black said.
The framework report from the Energy Policy Institute of Canada is being sent to all provincial and territorial leaders as well as the federal government. It recommends a committee of provincial and federal ministers, as well as First Nations leaders and NGOs, begin work immediately.
The report said the Harper government has already addressed concerns about regulatory reform when it announced a major overhaul of environmental assessment rules for big projects.
Ottawa will defer to provincial reviews that meet national standards, and reviews would be limited to 12 months for standard assessments, rising to a maximum of two years.
"The time for discussion is over. We need to continue alignments, we need to continue working with groups, we need to continue developing thinking but it is now time for action," said Black.
"Energy will continue to be the primary economic driver for Canada. Without it, Canada will be hard pressed to prosper."
Another major plank in the framework is market diversification.
Board member Gerry Protti said Canada needs to diversify beyond the oil and gas sector into areas like electricity and cannot remain entirely reliant on the United States as its only customer.
Protti said more economic opportunity exists in new markets overseas.
"The institute recommends taking any and all steps needed to access these new overseas markets including the promotion of our resources around the world and upgrading and expanding infrastructure and transportation networks to get our energy exports where they can benefit is the most."
The 150-page report also calls for a review of alternatives for carbon management.
At the Council of the Federation in Halifax last month, Clark stepped out of meetings as premiers tried to cobble together a pan-Canadian strategy on energy and before they broke for their final news conference.
"British Columbia will not be participating in any of those discussions until after we've seen some progress that our requirements for the shipment of heavy oil will be met," she told a hastily called news conference.
"It's not a national energy strategy if British Columbia hasn't signed on."
Latest Calgary News Headlines
- Stampeders' Jon Cornish motivated by Grey Cup loss
- Star Canadian running back Jon Cornish wants to work on his pass routes this season but his coach will be smiling if he just continues doing what he did last year. more »
- Rain, snow in K-Country prompts rescue of school campers
- A group of wet and cold school kids and their adult supervisors from Edmonton had to be rescued from Kananaskis Country on Wednesday night. more »
- Calgary man charged with murder in 2012 killing
- Police have charged a man with first-degree murder in connection with a killing outside a southwest Calgary strip mall one year ago. more »
- Calgary teen found dead had been in provincial care
- CBC News has confirmed that a teen who was found dead in his parents' northwest Calgary home had once been in the care of social services in British Columbia. more »
Top News Headlines
- How was the Mike Duffy report 'whitewashed?'
- Opposition parties pushed the government on Thursday to answer questions about the "whitewashed" Duffy report while the RCMP is also seeking more information from the Senate as part of its review of questionable expenses. more »
- 2nd suspect in Tim Bosma murder case to plead not guilty
- The lawyer for Mark Smich says the Oakville, Ont., resident will plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, the Hamilton man who disappeared earlier this month after taking two men on a test drive of his truck. more »
- Chained-teen's mom wants man who pleaded guilty 'to suffer'
- The mother of a teen who was chained up and sexually assaulted at a Nova Scotia home said after David James Leblanc pleaded guilty to some charges that she wants him "to suffer." more »
- 2 more arrests linked to hacking death of British soldier
- WARNING: This story contains graphic content. Two more people have been arrested by officers investigating the hacking death of a U.K. soldier in London, say British police. more »
- Calgary teen found dead had been in provincial care
- Alberta's pest list includes 60 critters
- Northwest Calgary park set for overhaul
- Busy parking spots in Calgary may soon cost more
- Animals rescued from shelter in SPCA probe
- Liam, Emma, most popular names for Alberta babies
- Lindale fire doubles in size within hours
- S.E. Calgary man missing since February
- Danielle Smith slams Redford at Calgary leader's dinner