Industry heavyweights behind national energy strategy
By Christopher Walsh
The time for discussing if Canada needs a national energy strategy is over, says the president of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, whose members are some of Canada’s top energy companies.
EPIC President Doug Black says it is in the country’s best interests to move ahead on a national energy strategy immediately. A new report called A Canadian Energy Strategy Framework was released by EPIC Thursday morning in Calgary. EPIC has 37 members and 24 are based in Alberta, most in Calgary. Members include Suncor, Shell Canada, Imperial Oil, Enbridge, Encanada, TransAlta and TransCanada.
“We’re suggesting now that the time for discussion is over. We need to continue alignments, we need continue working with groups, we need to continue developing, thinking; but it’s now time for action,” Black said at a press conference.
“We are proposing a collective and collaborative effort among all Canadian governments, business, aboriginal groups, NGOs, and other interested parties to benefit Canadians by playing to our strengths … to lead our country forward as a world leader in energy.”
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The national energy strategy framework proposes five key pillars including regulatory reform, market diversification, energy literacy and conservation, innovation and carbon management. The report was sent to all provincial and territorial government leaders as well as the federal government.
Black called British Columbia Premier Christy Clark’s stated opposition to a national energy strategy a minor issue in the bigger policy outlook. Clark has said she is not in favour of a strategy unless B.C. is compensated for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would run through the province.
“When we look back on this discussion we will consider this a small setback,” Black said. “This is a political problem, but our work cannot stop. At EPIC we’re optimistic this problem will be resolved.
“We’re saying to British Columbia, when you’re ready to join our deliberations, [you can].”
EPIC will be meeting with provincial leaders over the coming months to brief them on the framework. Last month, the Council of Federation premiers did commit to advance work on a national energy strategy.
But Black stressed the importance of moving on the policy framework quickly.
“In our view, Canada must move swiftly towards building our place as a global energy leader,” Black said. “If we can work in each of these five areas and make improvements, we’re going to move some distance towards realizing our energy goals as a country.”
A spokeswoman for Alberta Premier Alison Redford says the premier is interested in looking at EPIC’s report and may discuss some of the ideas presented with other provincial leaders in the future.
“We’re looking at anything that comes out that … could give us a little bit of guidance on moving forward on the energy strategy,” Kim Misik said. “This is an important priority [of the premier’s].”
The policy framework considered all of Canada’s energy resources including oil, gas, hydro and renewable energy. The policy was developed without any influence from any level government, although Black says governments were kept informed and consulted throughout the two-and-a-half year research process.
He also says the report looks at a wider Canadian approach rather than focusing on any one particular province.
“We haven’t just been in conversations with governments in the west,” Black said. “This is a national organization, so we’ve been talking to everyone.
“We are very conscious [about that], it’s pan-energy and it’s for all Canadians.”