Energy, Energy, Energy!
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith was on a mission last week and had three things on her mind: energy, energy, energy.
The interesting thing is, many of the other provinces now seem to be on the same page too.
Energy is a policy area that has always been a flashpoint for trouble for the federal government and we've seen an ever-increasing number of disputes developing in recent years, deteriorating interprovincial relations and creating constitutional struggles.
The most recent argument started last Friday when Premier Smith met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Calgary to talk about - you guessed it! - energy policy.
Trudeau has announced several ambitious climate policies that will drive energy costs up.
These include aggressive net-zero emissions electricity targets that are going to make power at least 40% more expensive, cost $52 billion for infrastructure alone, and another $35 billion in economic activity.
They’ve also announced an emissions cap on the oil and gas sector in western Canada - which is effectively a production cap, limiting the ability of producers to up their production in order to meet rising global demand.
Smith isn’t going along with these destructive policies.
Natural resource development is the sole jurisdiction of the provinces, not the federal government, and Smith says that Alberta will not be a doormat for federal climate policies that are going to decimate its economy.
She made it clear she will do whatever is necessary to protect Alberta's interests.
After this bout with Trudeau, she headed out to Winnipeg for the 2023 Summer Meeting of Canada’s Premiers.
Once again, Smith hammered on Ottawa’s aggressive targets and the impact they will have on the economies of the federation - not just Alberta.
Next, she headed to the LNG2023 Conference in Vancouver, looking to establish new export markets for Alberta’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) - a major source of tension between the federal government and the provinces.
Smith pointed out that Western Canada wants the ability to export LNG to fulfill rising global demand, a resource that Canada has in abundance:
“With the right infrastructure in place, Western Canada would become a sought-after supplier for both Asia and Europe."
Notably, federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson didn’t even show up to the conference, instead sending Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault.
Perhaps most importantly though, Alberta no longer stands alone.
The federal government has intruded so much into provincial jurisdiction on so many issues, that more and more provinces are pushing back.
At the start of her trip, Smith predicted that she would have a few allies.
"I can tell you the thing that has surprised me the most is that it doesn’t matter what political stripe the premiers have, every single one of them is frustrated with federal interference into their business,” she said.
She was right.
The Council of Premiers made it clear that they weren’t happy being force-fed aggressive deadlines that were going to decimate the Canadian economy.
Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan, publicly called out the Prime Minister and Steven Guilbeault, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, tweeting:
"If it wasn't clear before, it is now. The Trudeau government doesn't want to just reduce emissions in our energy sector, they want to completely shut down our energy sector."
Blaine Higgs, the Premier of New Brunswick added:
“It just seems to be a pile-on of additional costs, Let’s get some recognition for the impact this is having on everyday lives.”
Even David Eby's NDP government in British Columbia is joining in and are looking at ways to grow LNG exports with the recent establishment of a task force with a mandate to explore export expansion opportunities.
If there is one thing that this past week and a half did demonstrate is that when it comes to energy, the provinces have never been more united against a federal government that continues to overstep its jurisdictional boundaries.
This level of agreement amongst premiers is a major step forward, and it demonstrates that common ground can be found between provinces when it comes to federal overreach.
It is also important because it demonstrates that the rest of the country is getting fed up with the never-ending climate brigade taking shot after shot after shot at the energy industry without addressing the impact energy has on affordability.
Some time ago, we launched a campaign to Stand Up for Alberta Energy.
If you agree with our work in this area, and want to get more involved with the campaign, please join the campaign here:
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