MOOSE JAW, May 31, 2001 -- Premiers discussed the North American energy situation. Premiers noted the high demand for electricity, oil and natural gas. They reviewed a number of options for increasing the energy supply in western Canada, including western electrical power and the development of energy sources such as coal and green power. Premiers called for follow-up work to be done on opportunities to strengthen the east/west electrical transmission grid system.
Premiers reviewed the recent discussions between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to advance a North American energy market. Premiers acknowledged the efforts of the federal government to advance the development of Canadian sources of energy. Premiers stressed that constitutionally the provinces own the natural resources and are responsible for natural resource management and development. Premiers also noted that the territories have clear jurisdiction over selected natural resource responsibilities and support their continuing efforts to secure responsibility for natural resources from the federal government.
Consequently, it is essential that provinces and territories be full participants in international discussions related to energy. As a first step, Premiers directed their Energy Ministers to meet in Calgary to discuss priorities and objectives prior to the first meeting of the North American Working Group. Premiers extended an invitation to the federal Minister of Natural Resources to attend the meeting, along with Ministers of Energy from other provinces.
Premiers also discussed the vast potential of western and northern Canada to be a significant supplier of energy into the North American market. They noted that new projects have advantages for all of Canada. Premiers emphasized the importance of a timely government decision-making process to address new project proposals. Premiers indicated that federal/provincial/territorial cooperation will be required to coordinate approval processes and regulatory requirements for new projects in western Canada. Premiers are committed to ensuring that new projects are developed in an environmentally responsible manner that is consistent with the principles of sustainable development.
Note: Mr. Gordon Campbell, Premier-elect of British Columbia, attended the 2001 Western Premiers' Conference. However, in his current role as Premier-elect, Mr. Campbell was unable to give the official endorsement of the Province of British Columbia to the positions and commitments outlined in this Communiqué.