Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made ambitious commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Paris last December — and now he will lean heavily on Canada’s western provinces to ensure he meets them.
That’s the unsettling conclusion of a report by the Canada West Foundation (CWF), appropriately titled “Look Out,” which urges Western provinces to “bury the hatchet” after years of bickering over pipelines and form a common front to protect their resource-based economies from Ottawa’s coming power grab.
The report by the Calgary-based think-tank, released Monday, also urges Western provinces to develop a common carbon price and design climate change policies appropriate for their economies, such as building a Western electricity grid that uses hydro produced in British Columbia and Manitoba to help Alberta and Saskatchewan get off coal and natural gas.
Indeed, B.C. has floated the idea of getting behind export bitumen pipelines important to Alberta if Alberta buys hydro from its controversial Site C dam, provided Ottawa comes up with some $1 billion in federal aid.
“No matter how we slice it, there is no escaping the conclusion that the bulk of emission reductions will have to come from the West,” says the report, written by Trevor McLeod and Shafak Sajid and inspired by Dylan Jones, the CWF CEO who will take over next month as federal deputy minister of Western Economic Diversification.
The report argues that Trudeau, despite claiming to want to develop a national plan that lets provinces chart their own path, has secured himself a “hammer” to get western provinces to toe the line.
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