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Regina chapter calls on Saskatchewan premier to phase-out coal-fired power plants

Regina chapter activist Jim Elliott

Council of Canadians Regina chapter activist Jim Elliott is calling for Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall to take action on climate change.

In a letter to the editor published in the Leader-Post yesterday, Elliott states, “When the economy isn’t doing well under its watch, shouldn’t the government be looking around for ways to reset the economy by putting more of our resources into sectors that are known to create more jobs than the oil and gas sector — namely renewable energy? …In the throne speech [on May 17], Brad Wall talked about more electricity produced by renewables and decreasing the use of coal. If this is Wall’s plan, why not go 100 per cent renewable electricity and phase out coal like Alberta and Ontario?”

Elliott concludes, “[Wall] seems to only do enough to quell the cries, but not enough to meaningfully cut our per-capita emissions so that we aren’t the worst offender in the county. Instead of vilifying the opposition, which is putting forward a sustainable, low-carbon alternative, Wall needs to stop yelling and start explaining how he intends to get us out of this hole that he dug.”

In addition, the Saskatchewan provincial budget will be delivered today. Wall’s Throne Speech promised a “government-wide exercise of transformational change”. Elliott says that a truly transformational change would be for the province to commit to phasing out coal-fired power plants and to reduce the carbon footprint of the province. Saskatchewan has the highest per-capita emissions of any province, with the province responsible for 10.3 per cent of Canada’s emissions despite only having 3 per cent of the country’s population.

The Regina chapter will also be present at a rally on June 18. This rally takes place one month after Wall’s controversial Speech from the Throne.

That speech stated, “It is troubling that today, there are some in this country who, given the opportunity, would shut down major parts of Saskatchewan’s economy and put thousands of hard-working Saskatchewan people out of work, all in the name of some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality. There are those who are not comfortable with and even oppose much of what we produce in Saskatchewan and how we produce it – oil and gas, coal and uranium, livestock and grains. They would prefer that those sectors did not exist and that the thousands of jobs in those sectors did not exist. They look at those jobs like they are somehow harming the country and the world.”

Given this statement, Council of Canadians chapters and many others have called on Wall to clarify if he accepts “the scientific consensus that the earth is warming, that consequently the climate is changing in diverse and potentially devastating ways, and that this results primarily from human activity in the form of greenhouse gas emissions?”

The letter also demands that the premier take action commensurate with limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

And as noted in his letter to the editor, Elliott says the premier needs to stop “vilifying the opposition, which is putting forward a sustainable, low-carbon alternative”.