Following the first ministers meeting this week, The West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson sat down with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe to discuss the tensions between the province and Ottawa when it comes to the growing oil crisis.
According to Moe, Saskatchewan’s concerns were heard at the first ministers meeting, along with those of other provinces, and productive discussions were had with respect to carbon taxation.
WATCH: Watch the full broadcast of The West Block from Sunday, December 9, 2018 with Mercedes Stephenson.
“We’ve always said that provinces should have the rights and the jurisdiction to enact their own carbon plans. There’s a general agreement around the table on what we need to accomplish here in our provincial jurisdictions, and where we differ is on the mechanism on how we get there,” Moe said.
The oil price crisis currently devastating Alberta’s energy industry was the main issue discussed by first ministers at their meeting in Montreal. Everyone agreed with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s call for federal support for short-, medium- and long-term help to get the province’s oil to ports for shipment overseas.
Moe agreed with the assessment that Ottawa needs to take action to ensure that Canadian oil can get a world price.
WATCH: Federal government needs to look at full costs of rail car purchases as option to move western oil
“They need to take direct action to provide the regulatory certainty that our industry needs so that we can look at projects to ensure that our product can get a world price for that product and possibly even add value to it here in the nation of Canada and another province per se and sell it around the world. This is how we succeed as a nation to Canada by working together,” Moe told Global News.
Moe added that the government’s intention to enact “short-term initiatives” to solve the problem doesn’t go far enough. Rather, he said that the conversation Canada needs to be having is around finding corridors for Canadian energy products as well as other products Canada wants to move across the country.
He also conceded that while there are a number of things on which Saskatchewan and the federal government don’t agree, there are also several issues on which they are aligned. He gave the CUSMA as one example, despite taking issue with the aluminum and steel tariffs outlined in Section 232 of the NAFTA replacement.
“We need to continue to have conversations around where we do have agreement. We were happy to see the (CUSMA) deal signed with the U.S. They’re our largest trading partner,” said Moe.
Should the federal government fail to take action on the oil crisis, Moe believes Canada will continue losing money to the United States and other parts of the world.
“We have billions and billions of dollars that could have been invested in western Canada that essentially is being invested in the United States and other areas of the world. These are regulatory headwinds, whether it’s the inability to have a strong regulatory environment for pipelines so that we can get our energy product to market, or whether it’d be additional headwinds in the way of carbon taxation on an industry just like this,” Moe said.
This is the message Moe said he hoped to convey during the first ministers meeting.
“These are headwinds that this industry just simply doesn’t need right now, and that is the message that we brought here today on Saskatchewan’s behalf.”