‘Path With No Stop Signs’ Will Shape Canada’s Energy Strategy
Canada’s emerging national energy strategy will be a continuing dialogue, not a single document, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said last week, after wrapping up his Generation Energy conference in Winnipeg last week.
“This was a very important milestone along a path that has no stop signs,” Carr told The Canadian Press. “This is a dialogue that will not stop tomorrow. This dialogue will continue.”
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As CP reporter Mia Rabson points out, Carr’s November 2015 mandate letter calls for him to “work closely with provinces and territories to: develop a Canadian Energy Strategy to protect Canada’s energy security; encourage energy conservation; and bring cleaner, renewable energy onto a smarter electricity grid.” Carr had positioned Generation Energy as a major part of that process.
“However, when it was over, he said there would be no grand unveiling of the government’s thinking; rather, it will be done on an ongoing basis in multiple formats,” Rabson writes. “That seems to include the details of a planned overhaul of both the environmental assessment process and the National Energy Board, both of which are expected this fall.”
CP cites a Nanos poll for the University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy think tank in which 40% of respondents said Canada is doing a poor job of sharing its long-term energy vision, while half say the government doesn’t do a great job building confidence in its decisions on energy megaprojects. Carr sees that disconnect as a carryover from the energy politics of the Harper era, iPolitics reports [subs req’d].
Public confidence in the National Energy Board “took a hit” during those nine years, he told reporters last week. “These things don’t happen overnight,” he added. “Canadians have been well-consulted and they continue to be well-consulted on the kind of regulatory regime that would restore that trust.”
During the Generation Energy conference, meanwhile, Carr advised the country’s fossil industry to invest in low-carbon innovations that will reduce its carbon footprint.
“I agree we are in transition,” he said, when asked to comment on panelist Jeremy Rifkin’s contention that the industry is entering its sunset. “They’re making investments now in finding innovative ways to extract the resources. People forget the oil sands were developed in the first place because of innovation. I believe it can lead the transition.”