Sask. premier says Trudeau should take leadership on Energy East, TPP
Published Sunday, November 1, 2015 10:55AM EST
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is calling on prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau to be a leader on the Energy East pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
In an interview with CTV’s Question Period, Wall outlined his two main asks of Trudeau, who will be sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister on Wednesday.
“It would be to be a leader on Energy East, I think,” said Wall. “That would be 1.0; 1.1 on the list is TPP. Let’s move quickly on that.”
The premier also said there shouldn’t be a linkage between the federal government’s plan for climate change and pipeline completion, especially pertaining to Energy East. The $12-billion, 4,600-kilometre TransCanada project will carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada.
U.S. President Barack Obama has drawn a strong linkage between climate change and pipelines, saying that Keystone XL – another major TransCanada pipeline – would only be in his country’s interest if it didn’t significantly worsen climate change.
Wall suggested that Canada give Obama “a bit more elbow room with respect to Keystone,” and make more of an effort to emphasize environmental efforts, such as Canada’s “aggressive” coal regulation.
“Perhaps we should have been touting and promoting this more to give our trading partners a bit more environmental elbow room to make it easier to get pipelines approved.”
Wall would also like to see the Trudeau government seal the TPP, a 12-country trade deal that could create the world’s largest trade zone. The Conservatives signed the massive deal during the federal election, but it still has to be ratified in the national legislatures of each of the individual countries.
“It’s potentially transformational for our province and for Canada in terms of those 12 economies with whom we’ll be able to reduce trade barriers,” said Wall.
While the deal would be hugely beneficial to Saskatchewan’s natural resource industry, critics have raised concerns about what the agreement could mean for Canada’s auto sector, the price of medicine, copyright protection and the supply-managed dairy sector.
The other TPP members are the U.S., New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia.
Wall to join Trudeau at Paris climate change summit
Wall also told Question Period he will take Trudeau up on his invitation to join him at the United Nations climate change meeting in Paris later this year. Shortly after his election, Trudeau invited the premiers of all the provinces and territories to join him for the meeting, where nations will work toward signing a global climate change agreement.
“I obviously want to be there representing the interests of the province of Saskatchewan,” said Wall. “I think it would be a missed opportunity to not be there.”
Wall encouraged Trudeau to hold off on setting national emissions reductions targets until after the Paris meeting, adding the federal government should “move in step with the United States” when signing agreements.
“A global agreement is important but we need to make sure we’re competitive in North America,” said Wall. “We need to make sure that we haven’t knee-capped the economy in terms of any agreements we sign.”
Conservative leadership? “Under no circumstances”
While Wall said he is humbled by hopes that he would run for the federal Conservative leadership, he delivered a decisive “no” when asked what his intentions are.
“The answer is no. No, thank you,” said Wall. “Under no circumstances.”
Stephen Harper resigned from the top job when his party lost the Oct. 19 election. The Conservatives will choose an interim leader in Ottawa on Nov. 5, but Wall said the party shouldn’t rush to find a permanent leader.
“Obviously we’re looking at at least four years of the Trudeau government, so I don’t think there’s any particular rush for the Conservatives to choose a leader. The process itself might be helpful, in fact, and might create some debate within the party that’s a welcome thing for the organization to move forward.”