No mention of oil and gas in leaked agenda for first ministers meeting
|CTVnews 05 Dec 2018 at 14:57|
The words oil and gas dont appear once on the agenda for the first ministers meeting this Friday, according to a leaked copy of the document given to CTV News by one of the provinces.
The document provides a detailed breakdown of what each minister intends to discuss with the premiers during the six hours of meetings scheduled for this Friday. The topics include competitiveness, clean energy initiatives and increased economic collaboration.
However, despite the letter Justin Trudeau received Monday from Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe urging that oil be added to the agenda, the agenda doesnt formally dedicate one minute to discussing what some are calling a crisis facing the oil industry.
The agenda also doesnt specifically mention the auto industry, which has been a huge source of concern for Ontario since General Motors announced it would shutter its Oshawa plant.
The Prime Ministers Office said in a statement provided to CTV News on Tuesday that the oil price differential and what the premiers called a crisis facing the industry were always going to be on the agenda.
The statement asserts that those issues will be discussed within the context of job creation in all sectors, trade diversification, and competitiveness.
However, the premiers had asked to see Energy Market Access and the Economic Impacts of the Price Differential added as a full agenda item -- a request that, according to the leaked copy of the agenda, doesnt appear to have been granted.
The request from Notley and Moe comes as oil prices have been struggling, falling as low as US$14 a barrel in early November.
In response to the issue, Alberta has pledged to cap production by 8.7 per cent starting January. The province will also purchase rail cars to help Canadian crude reach other markets.
While the federal government hasnt signed on to Albertas request that it help with the rail car purchase, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi has asked the National Energy Board to evaluate whether Canadas pipelines are being used to their full capacity.
He did not give a concrete deadline for the study.
In the meantime, the federal government can expect a tense meeting on Friday as premiers gather to air their grievances and chart a path forward. Multiple provinces are unhappy about the federally imposed carbon tax -- and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, and Interprovincial Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc will all be at the table on Friday to face the music.