July 27, 2012

REALITY CHECK: Clark piles on Redford's failed national energy strategy

EDMONTON, AB (July 27, 2012): BC Premier Christy Clark’s refusal to sign on to Premier Alison Redford’s national energy strategy is just the latest in a string of public embarrassments for her “conversation” about such a national strategy. For months, Redford has failed to articulate and advance Alberta’s interests or to provide any leadership on what a national energy strategy would mean for Alberta and for Canada. 

Her failure to both define specific priorities and desired outcomes to underpin a real plan, and to compel provincial and federal leaders, has jeopardized the completion of a critical pipeline project and has opened up a contentious constitutional debate with other premiers on provincial revenue sharing. Today, in Halifax, BC PREMIER CHRISTY CLARK officially rejected Redford’s national energy strategy – dealing a critical blow to Alberta’s economic interests: "And so until we see some progress in the discussions between British Columbia, Alberta and the federal government with respect to the Gateway pipeline through British Columbia, we will not be participating in the discussion of a national energy strategy." Clark is far from the only leader to express concern about Redford’s ill-defined intentions. Here is a sample of the kind of confusion around Redford’s nebulous national energy strategy: PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he isn't quite sure what Alberta Premier Alison Redford's call for a ‘Canadian Energy Strategy’ means...Harper joked that following the effects of the Trudeau-era National Energy Program, he ‘always gets nervous’ when he sees the words ‘national’ and ‘energy’ together.” ONTARIO PREMIER DALTON MCGUINTY: In response to a question asking about what Redford’s national energy strategy means, Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty responded: “Well, first of all, you make a good point, because I’m not exactly sure what Premier Redford is talking about.” (@ 22:25) SASKATCHEWAN PREMIER BRAD WALL: “A strategy needs an author. In this case, there's 13 [authors], I guess, without the feds. It needs specific points, things that you would execute ... And I have a hard time discerning what that might be... The primary concern about the strategy discussion is whether it takes up too much oxygen in every room we're in and we can't focus on infrastructure where we can actually make real gains.” The Wildrose Official Opposition has long warned that Redford’s hazy national energy strategy leaves Alberta’s interests at risk, as is now unfolding. Instead, Alberta should be working bilaterally with other provinces on a case-by-case basis to address critical infrastructure needs. It’s time for Premier Redford to admit her national energy strategy has failed. “I’m sure this is not how Premier Redford envisioned her national energy strategy would unfold, losing a key ally in the bid for a critical pipeline project,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said. “Her national energy strategy will be remembered not for growing Alberta and Canada’s energy economy, but for dividing the nation’s leaders and squandering opportunities for growth.”


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