It’s little wonder that environmental groups anticipate a more receptive ear from provincial leaders in the area of renewable energy. In fact, they hope to gain audience this week when the premiers meet in Halifax.
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter is hosting the Council of the Federation, which will focus on a multitude of other provincial-federal issues, but energy will be on the table as they discuss a national strategy.
In fact, with this province encouraging renewable energy and targeting emissions reduction, groups such as Greenpeace can hope for a receptive audience. Gillian McEachern, deputy campaign director for Environmental Defence Canada, also says the environmental-labour alliance anticipates favourable response from Ontario and Quebec.
These organizations say they don’t have the relationship they would like with the federal government.
That’s not surprising. Consider the kind of attention the federal government is placing on development, production and marketing possibilities of Alberta’s oilsands. That’s not likely to change anytime soon – reflecting the conviction from that level that the resource is, and will continue to be, a driving economic force for the country.
Oilsands development will certainly remain a priority, doubtless, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus when it comes to discussing an energy strategy. As it is, many environmental groups feel the relationship between the federal government and the oil industry has grown too cosy.
Notwithstanding the many critics of oilsands development, no one expects the brakes to be put on that conventional energy source anytime soon.
But not all the provinces are rich in such deposits and we can expect them to keep an open mind on green energy development. It too offers potential for jobs, commerce, research and development – as well as the end product.
It would be good to see the federal government add such initiatives to its overall outlook on future energy.