Wynne, Couillard to push national energy strategy at premiers conference – by Jane Taber (Globe and Mail – August 25, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Bolstered by the new partnership with her Quebec counterpart, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is eyeing Quebec’s abundant hydro power to light up Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire development and reinvigorate talks for a national energy strategy.

She and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, both rookie premiers with majority mandates, recently forged a central Canadian alliance to co-operate on issues and bring prosperity back to their provinces.

Beginning on Aug. 26, all of the premiers will meet at the Council of the Federation in Prince Edward Island, and she and Mr. Couillard hope to come to the table with a “shared position” on a Canadian energy strategy. Under the previous separatist government – Mr. Couillard defeated Parti Québécois premier Pauline Marois in the spring provincial election – Quebec refused to participate in a Canada-wide strategy.

“It’s a different situation when there’s a strong federalist premier in Quebec,” Ms. Wynne said in an interview.

In addition, their new alliance calls for potentially increasing electricity trade between the two provinces. Northern Ontario is in dire need of infrastructure to help develop the Ring of Fire, which could provide thousands of jobs to the province and about $60-billion to its economy, according to the provincial government’s estimates.

“I am open to practical solutions,” Ms. Wynne said in the interview. “If we can find a way to get a great deal for Ontarians by increasing our capacity, by increasing our partnership with Quebec, then we’ll look at that.”

A 2009 trade and co-operation agreement between the two provinces envisaged increasing trade in electricity – Ontario now buys some electricity from Quebec, but Ms. Wynne wants to build on that.

“As the Ring of Fire is developed – I am not going to pre-empt the discussion that might go on, but I am certainly open to using that trade agreement to open up possibilities on the energy front,” she said, noting that Quebec has “terrific geography and water.”

“They are blessed with that terrific hydro power,” she added. “There is a border between Quebec and Ontario but it’s not a border that is impermeable. It is one that we should find a way to … really use to both Quebec and Ontario’s advantage.”

The two premiers announced the new alliance in Quebec City last Thursday. It was the first time they had met in person.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontarios-wynne-quebecs-couillard-to-push-national-energy-strategy-at-premiers-conference/article20187343/#dashboard/follows/