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NEWS: The Council of Canadians calls for a national energy strategy

The Victoria Times Colonist reports this morning, “Politics may make for unlikely bedfellows, but the pairing-off gets even stranger when it comes to Canada’s energy sector, with everyone from petroleum producers, Alberta politicians and business advocates to environmentalists and citizens’ rights groups agreeing on one thing: Canada needs a national energy strategy. …Of course, the strategy looks somewhat different depending on the lens through which it is seen. Business leaders are eyeing a predictable program that they can take to trading partners as a guarantee that Canada is committed to ensuring a steady supply for export. The energy sector is looking at a strategy that sets out clear policies and regulations so that every new project doesn’t have to start from square one. Environmentalists and citizen advocates envision a sustainable energy plan to mitigate the effect of the use of fossil fuels on the environment, to wean the populace off non-renewable fuel sources, and ensure security of energy supply.”

“Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, suggested no plan exisits (because) a national energy strategy is a complex and highly political issue, and to properly devise one would entail extensive public consultations, developing consensus among the provinces and territories, including solving jurisdictional issues —something that the Conservative government might have found daunting while it was still in a minority position. …Dave Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, says, ‘I think it only makes sense that we collectively understand where we want to go and have a bit of a strategy and a plan to get there.’ …Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert has called for a national and a continental energy strategy so that decisions ‘wouldn’t be at the whim of lobbying by environmental extremists and tied up in bureaucratic wrangling for years in Ottawa or Washington.'”

“Outside the energy sector, the Council of Canadians seeks a national energy strategy to serve two purposes: to ensure the stability of supply to Canadians, and also to set out a plan to wean the country off its dependence on non-renewable fuel sources. ‘One of the points the council has been very clear on and continues to be clear on is that not only does Canada not have an energy plan, we’ve actually relinquished a lot of our control in the energy sector through free trade agreements like NAFTA, to the markets and to the interests of big oil and we find that problematic,’ said Andrea Harden-Donahue, energy and climate justice campaigner for the council. ‘We would say that any plan needs to be balanced with environmental protections concerning the production, transportation and consumption of energy,’ she said, adding: ‘We are very wary and would oppose a strategy that allows business as usual — namely, the pursuit of an energy superpower status through increased exports to the U.S. based on unfettered ongoing fossil-fuel exploitation. The social and environmental costs of this we’re really seeing now, particularly in the tarsands.'”

The full article is at http://www.timescolonist.com/business/Calls+national+energy+strategy+coming+from+sides/5027081/story.html.