Despite fracking moratorium, 'we're very much for energy projects': N.B. premier
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant speaks to CTV's Question Period on April 12, 2015.
Michelle Zilio, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, April 12, 2015 9:49AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 12, 2015 10:22AM EDT
Despite slapping a moratorium on fracking in New Brunswick, Premier Brian Gallant says his government is very supportive of energy projects in the province as a way to propel the economy.
Gallant told CTV's Question Period that his Liberal government is eager to participate in energy projects like TransCanada's Energy East pipeline project in an effort to help improve both provincial and national economy growth.
"We are very much for natural resource development,” Gallant said. “We're very much for energy projects here in the province.”
Gallant's comments come nearly two weeks after his government tabled a gloomy provincial budget, which included a projected deficit of $476.8 million.
Despite New Brunswick's economic woes, Gallant maintained his commitment to a moratorium on hydraulic fracking until five conditions are met, including a First Nations consultation process, credible information about the impacts of fracking on water, health, and the environment, and a wastewater disposal plan.
"But we have to make sure that we do our due diligence. So, we've asked a panel to go around the province to find out what are some of the concerns of New Brunswickers when it comes to hydraulic fracturing," said Gallant.
Like New Brunswick, Nova Scotia is facing a bleak economic forecast. The government tabled its budget last week, forecasting a $98-million deficit. Also appearing on CTV's Question Period, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says he is hoping the federal government will work with the province to get Nova Scotians back to work, especially in the natural resource sector.
Premiers meet on climate change
Both premiers will head to Quebec City this week, to meet with their provincial and territorial counterparts to discuss climate change and, more specifically, reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
While acknowledging the job prospects for the Atlantic Canada in the natural resource sector, McNeil said the provinces still have to consider climate change, and build a better relationship with the federal government on the issue.
"The premiers, under (Quebec) Premier Couillard … are putting together a direction that I believe the national government will want to participate (in) as we go forward. It's challenging times for them as well," McNeil said.
The federal government will surely keep a close eye on the premiers' meeting, as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is expected to sign an agreement to join Quebec in a cap-and-trade system that would put a price on carbon in an effort to reduce GHGs. Government sources tell CTV that Wynne will announce Ontario’s cap and trade plan at a news conference in Toronto Monday, before flying to Quebec to sign the agreement with Premier Philippe Couillard.
Ontario joins B.C. and Quebec in establishing a provincial carbon pricing model. While B.C. introduced a carbon tax in 2008, Quebec just implemented its cap-and-trade system this past January.
Feds firm on opposition to carbon tax
Despite the moves by B.C., Quebec and Ontario, the federal government is standing firm in its refusal to implement nation-wide carbon pricing. Rather, the Conservative government will leave those plans to the provinces.
"What we're not going to do obviously, is slap a carbon tax on Canadians as some kind of solution for this," Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford told Question Period. “Provinces and territories understand the kinds of activities they're engaged in and the policy position they take to address things like greenhouse gas emissions.”
Talk of carbon pricing comes as Canada prepares for a major United Nations climate change conference at the end of 2015. Canada is not expected to fulfill its pledge to reduce GHGs by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020. Environmental plans for the post-2020 period will be discussed at the Paris meeting.
With files from The Canadian Press