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Equiterre’s reaction to the Council of the Federation’s conclusion on a national energy strategy: A modest step forward!

Halifax, July 27th 2012 – The Council of the federation has concluded its work with a statement on a national energy strategy. This statement builds on a vision document adopted by the Council in 2007 which stipulated that any such strategy must tackle issues of sustainability and notably climate change.

Steven Guilbeault, Cofounder and deputy executive director of Equiterre has responded as follows:

“In light of the total vacuum left by the federal government on this issue, this declaration - even if timid - is a welcome move by provinces and territories. It highlights the need for Canada to start the transition towards renewable energy and a green economy as part of any energy strategy. It is clear that some premiers are prepared to work to ensure Canada moves towards a safe, clean and reliable energy future while others are gearing up for battle to defend every last drop of dirty oil.”

The dynamics of this debate are going to become even heated as provinces prepare for the provincial – federal energy ministers meeting in Charlottetown in September. It was at this meeting in 2011 where the federal and Albertan governments pushed aggressively for a national energy strategy that could only be described as “Drill, baby, drill.”

Beyond the discussion on the energy strategy, the public media battle between BC’s Christie Clark and her Alberta counterpart Alison Redford over the controversial Northern-Gateway project has monopolized attention. In the end, BC has decided not to sign-on to the strategy until the contentious issue of that pipeline is resolved.

Provincial governments have a monumental task in front of them to work towards the implementation of the clean energy and sustainability aspects of their common vision. While some provinces are responsible for the vast majority of Canada’s progress in emissions reductions and progressive clean energy policies, since the adoption of a common energy vision in 2007, the Council has done no evaluation and no progress report on implementation of elements such as energy efficiency, development of renewable and the fight against climate change. (Équiterre's report of the Council of Federation evaluation-2011)

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