VICTORIA, August 2, 2001 -- Premiers discussed the North American energy situation and recent international and domestic activities to improve the operation of the North American energy market. They stressed that any international discussions must help to ensure security of supply for Canadian consumers and the domestic market. Premiers are supportive of the agreement between the Prime Minister and the Presidents of the United States and Mexico to have a coordinated North American focus on energy supply and development.
Premiers also reviewed the opportunities across Canada for future energy developments and technology advancements including east coast oil and gas, increased hydro and gas fired electricity, increased transmission capacity, additional nuclear power, northern gas and oil, and pipeline projects, as well as the development of energy sources such as clean coal and green power. They noted that new energy projects and technologies are a key driver in creating strong provincial and territorial economies and that this benefits all of Canada. They emphasized that government decision-making must be streamlined and timely, as well as ensuring that new projects are developed in an environmentally responsible manner, consistent with the principles of sustainable development.
Premiers emphasized the importance of their Energy Ministers working closely together with the federal minister to position Canada for the significant opportunities that may arise from a coordinated focused North American approach. Premiers noted the importance of coordinated provincial/territorial efforts such as the recent decision of provincial/territorial Energy Ministers to conduct a study of a national electrical power transmission grid.
Premiers reiterated that provinces own their natural resources and are responsible for resource management and development. Provinces have a major influence on interprovincial and international energy markets, well beyond their own frontiers. Accordingly, Premiers stressed that provinces and territories must be involved in international discussions respecting resources owned and managed by the provinces and territories. Premiers expressed serious concern that the federal government has not yet included provincial/territorial representatives in the North American Working Group discussions.
Premiers called on the federal government to conclude a federal/provincial/territorial agreement regarding full provincial/territorial participation in Canada's international energy discussions and negotiations. Premiers emphasized that this provincial/territorial involvement in international energy discussions should be determined immediately to ensure Energy Ministers, at their next meeting in Quebec City in September, can focus on the substance of preparing for future meetings with the United States and Mexico.
Premiers recognized that the construction of pipeline projects should provide significant economic benefit for Northerners and all Canadians. Premiers also reiterated their support for ongoing efforts by the territories to have the responsibility for the management of resources transferred from the federal government to territorial governments.