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The overwhelming re-election of Alison Redford as Premier of Alberta last week has given a boost to the clean energy policy ambitions of the Winnipeg Consensus.

The Consensus was launched by a group of think tanks from across the country, focusing on the role of energy in Canada’s environmental and economic future. After initial discussions between the think tanks,  negotiations were broadened to include federal and provincial representatives. Québec Premier, Jean Charest, and Alberta Premier, Alison Redford, are reported to be strong supporters of the Consensus, and to be pushing for a countrywide strategy at the Premiers’ meeting this summer.  This could be good news.

The Council of the Federation already calls on all Canadians to play a stronger role on climate change:

All Canadians have an important role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting the environment and adapting to the effects of climate change.

In 2010, the Consensus released a report calling for a Canadian Clean Energy Strategy, including a price on carbon. According to the Consensus, Canada needs a Canadian Clean Energy Strategy that will:

Enhance our Economic Prosperity and Energy Advantage by:

  • Supporting a full and diverse range of energy sources while recognizing the regional diversity and mix of energy resources as a core Canadian advantage.
  • Enabling Canadians to capture the economic opportunities inherent in the global movement towards lower carbon products, services and technologies.
  • Seeking out new markets for energy exports, while maintaining a healthy trade relationship with the U.S.
  • Making energy innovation a cornerstone of Canada’s success in a competitive continental and global economy.
  • Ensuring energy access and security for Canadians, and for our country.

Demonstrate our Environmental Leadership by:

  • Minimizing the environmental impact of energy production and maximize waste reduction.
  • Maximizing energy conservation at home.
  • Building Canada’s global brand and reputation.
  • Developing appropriate market and regulatory tools, including a price on carbon.

Create a Stronger Federation by:

  • Providing a coordinated structure and framework to encourage investment.
  • Contributing to policy coherence and collaboration among all orders of government on required investments and problem-solving.
  • Engaging Canadians as consumers and citizens in supporting these advantages

Economists, banks, and major industries have been calling for years for a price on carbon. Could Alison Redford and the Winnipeg Consensus finally persuade the federal government to impose one?


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