New Democrats Welcome National Energy Talks

But NDP warns national strategy must spark change, not protect status quo

OTTAWA – New Democrats welcome this weekend’s national energy strategy meetings between federal and provincial ministers in Kananaskis, Alberta—but warned the Harper government talks must be about sparking change, not promoting the status quo.

“After years of seeing Stephen Harper dismiss the need for an energy strategy, we are skeptical about his intentions now,” said Natural Resources Critic Romeo Saganash. “This weekend should be about developing a balanced plan that improves our energy security, respects all jurisdictions, and sparks a shift to a lower-carbon economy.”

New Democrats have pushed for a pan-Canadian Energy Strategy since 2005, starting with a science-based assessment of current and potential energy sources to reflect their true costs and benefits—both economic and environmental.

New Democrat Environment Critic Megan Leslie pointed out how Harper’s generous subsidies to profitable oil and gas companies discourage any transition to cleaner energies. And with 11 big oil and gas companies sponsoring much of the costs for this weekend’s conference, there are serious questions about the government’s motives.

“This weekend’s talks must not become a pretext for further sweetening rules for oil and gas companies or fast-tracking controversial oilsands-driven projects like the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline to B.C.’s sensitive north coast,” said Leslie. “Canadians want a plan that addresses climate change. We are asking the Conservatives to start working with stakeholders on solutions – instead of finding ways to just silence their critics.”