Moe and Notley call on Trudeau to include oil price 'crisis' at first ministers meeting

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to address the "crisis facing the energy industry" at this week's first ministers meeting.

Price differential is 'crippling' economies of the 2 provinces, Notley says

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe want Prime Minister Trudeau to make the oil price differential an agenda topic at this week's meetings in Montreal. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press, Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press)

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to address the "crisis facing the energy industry" at this week's first ministers meeting.

Moe and Notley sent a joint letter to Trudeau urging him to hold a discussion on the issue, which they say is not included on the agenda sent to premiers.

Notley told reporters at the Alberta legislature Tuesday: "We tend to have conversations about minor internal trade issues, and then when it's my opportunity to talk I say, 'Well, there's this big internal trade issue that we have about getting our product from one province to another and to other markets, and it's actually worth 100 times the value of these other issues.'"

Alberta announced on Sunday that it will cut back oil production by 8.7 per cent starting next month. The move is meant to combat steep discounts currently placed on Alberta oil. Alberta Opposition Leader Jason Kenney asked Saskatchewan to follow suit, but Moe said Monday he would not mandate a cut because doing so would impact jobs.

In the letter, Moe and Notley say the upcoming meeting agenda does not include "the price differential that is crippling the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Canadian economies.

"Our country is losing $80 million a day because we cannot get tide water access and world prices for Alberta's oil and gas," they say.

The two premiers said Trudeau called the oil price differential a "crisis" on his recent trip to Calgary.

"We agree. A crisis of this magnitude must be reflected in any discussion on 'economic competitiveness,'" the premiers wrote.

PMO says items will be on agenda

A spokesperson for Trudeau said Tuesday in a statement to CBC News, "The first ministers' meeting will be an important opportunity for the prime minister and premiers to discuss how we can create jobs and economic growth that benefit everyone across the country in all sectors."

The spokesperson said the oil price issue is on the agenda — it's to be included within the topics of "job creation in all sectors, trade diversification and competitiveness."

Watch MPs debate the role of the federal government in addressing the oil price crisis

How can Ottawa help address the oil price crisis? MPs debate on Power & Politics. 9:41

On Monday, Notley addressed her cabinet before a meeting where Alberta's newly announced oil production cuts were approved.

"We don't actually need Ottawa's sympathy, we need Ottawa's full attention. We need them to step up and help us bring an end to this crisis," she said.

Also on Monday, Moe said Ottawa must start getting serious about stalled and cancelled pipeline projects. 

"A clear failure of the federal government to build pipelines and ensure market access for our energy products has had a great cost on the economy and the people of Saskatchewan," he said.

Moe said any cut in Saskatchewan will hurt conventional oil production and would have little impact on the price of oil.

Saskatchewan has no oilsands production. About 60 per cent of the oil produced in Saskatchewan is light and medium oil.

Read the full letter here:

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Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had agreed to the request by Notley and Moe. In fact, the Prime Minister's Office said the issue was already on the agenda.
    Dec 04, 2018 2:51 PM CT

About the Author

Adam Hunter

Journalist

Adam Hunter is the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Saskatchewan, based in Regina. He has been with CBC for 11 years. He hosts the CBC podcast On the Ledge. Follow him on Twitter @AHiddyCBC. Contact him: adam.hunter@cbc.ca

With files from CBC's Michelle Bellefontaine and Scott Larson