Energy crisis a late addition to first ministers meeting agenda
CTV News obtained a leaked copy of the agenda for Friday’s first ministers meeting, a schedule that failed to make any mention of oil, gas or the energy sector until the Prime Minister's Office added 'struggling oil prices' late Tuesday.
Premier Rachel Notley and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe sent letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week urging him to add energy sector discussions to the agenda, but their requests appear to have gone unheralded.
Shannon Greer, deputy director of communications for the Office of the Premier, issued the following statement on Tuesday afternoon regarding the omission.
“We are disappointed that the Prime Minister’s office has not changed the agenda to reflect the economic crisis that is currently costing Canadians $80 million per day,” said Greer in the statement. “Premier Notley will be taking a forceful message on behalf of all Albertans to the Prime Minister and her fellow Premiers. Canadians understand that it’s fiscal and economic insanity to be giving our most important commodity away for free and they want action from their political leaders in Ottawa. Premier Notley will be fighting to ensure Premiers across Canada come together and help one another so we can put this crisis behind us.”
The Prime Minister's Office confirmed, in a statement released Tuesday evening, that 'a discussion on the oil and gas industry in Canada' and 'struggling oil prices' had been added to Friday's agenda.
"The First Ministers’ Meeting will be an important opportunity for the Prime Minister and Premiers to discuss how we can create jobs and economic growth that benefit everyone across the country in all sectors. The conversations will focus on trade diversification, competitiveness, and how climate change and clean energy initiatives drive growth and job creation. The agenda will also include a discussion on the oil and gas industry in Canada and the impact of struggling oil prices on Canada’s energy sector and energy workers."
The meeting comes mere days after Notley announced the province would cut back on oil production by 8.7 per cent in an effort to reduce reserves and increase the price of Western Canadian Select. According to Notley, Canada has been losing approximately $80 million a day as a result of the lower price of Canadian crude compared to the global market.
Previously confirmed topics on the agenda for the first ministers meeting include clean energy initiatives, collaborative approaches to encourage economic growth and protect the environment, and competition.
With files from CTV's Kathy Le