Saskatchewan Premier demands new deal between Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has penned a letter demanding that a new deal be negotiated for Alberta and Saskatchewan.
In his letter, Moe points out that the new Liberal minority government does not represent Saskatchewan and Alberta at all. Following the election, Conservatives won all 14 seats in Saskatchewan, as well as 33 out of 34 seats in Alberta, with a lone NDP candidate. The Liberals were shut out of both provinces.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says adding nuclear power to his province’s energy mix while augmenting renewables and slashing coal-fired plants would reduce emissions caused by electricity generation to a net-zero by 2050.
“This is positive for Saskatchewan, it’s positive for Canada and it’s taking real action in addressing global climate change,” Moe told reporters on Sunday in Toronto, where premiers are gathering for policy meetings this week.
Alongside Ontario Premier Doug Ford and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, Moe said the trio inked a Memorandum-of-Understanding to support planning, development and “early-stage commercialization” of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in their jurisdictions.
“This technology has potential of creating high quality jobs and local economic development in communities where existing electricity transmission infrastructure already exists,” said Moe.
“Or in further or remote communities who currently rely on higher emissions power production methods.”
According to the National Energy Board, 84 percent of Saskatchewan’s electricity is generated burning coal and natural gas.
Conversely, 90 percent of Ontario’s electricity demands are met with zero carbon-emitting sources; nuclear (58 percent), hydro (22 percent) and approximately 10 percent via wind and solar.
New Brunswick’s energy palette is somewhere in between as the province still generates 40 percent of its electricity through burning coal and natural gas.
Small SLOWPOKE (safe low power critical experiment) reactors have been around for some time and are still used for research by the places like University of Alberta and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
About the size of a cinder block and powerful enough to heat a bathtub of water, SLOWPOKES were built in the 1970s by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited – AECL tried to build more powerful versions, but these got little traction because natural gas was cheap.
While military submariner applications have been around for decades,–Russia recently unveiled a floating reactor to power the Siberian town of Pevek–mini-reactors or SMRs for commercial electricity in Canada have not been tried.
Canadian Nuclear Association president John Stewart told The Post Millennial in an interview back in July that regulatory hurdles would push the window for SMR deployment in Canada to at least a decade.
Steward did acknowledge that expanding nuclear power would likely happen first where the primary power source remains coal.
“You would want the new generators to go in exactly where those coal-fired generators are,” said Stewart.
“If you owned (coal-fired) plants like New Brunswick or Saskatchewan does, what you really don’t want to do is complicate the project by having to change the transmission structure.”
The United Conservative Party (UCP) appears to be preparing for a fight for increased autonomy with the Trudeau government.
In their first annual meeting, members voted on through informal straw polls on a series of issues aimed at getting a “fair deal” from the Trudeau government.
From the province’s potential tax collection agency to the police force, trade relationships, pension plan, and firearms watchdog, members voted in large groups to support autonomy and further pull away from Ottawa.
A panel weighing those ideas is to complete its report by March 31.
“We are not seeking a special deal. We are simply seeking a fair deal,” Premier Jason Kenney told party faithful.
While not backing the secession movement, Wexit, the move to fight for autonomy is not surprising. Polls have placed Alberta’s desire to potentially declare independence close to if not higher than the separatist-prone province of Quebec.
The leader of the Parti Quebecois, Pascal Berube, has attacked Jason Kenney and his UCP in an opinion piece in the Calgary Herald.
In the article, Berube declared that Kenney was lying to Albertans about Albertan taxes paying for Quebec’s social infrastructure. Berube claimed that Kenney’s statements were “simply not true.”
Berube also took time to rebut Kenney’s indignation over equalization payments—an issue that Kenney will put to a referendum. Berube said that equalization payments were calculated based on the province’s ability to generate tax revenue, and thus “Albertans should not complain about paying for any of Quebec’s social programs. It simply is not true.”
Berube went on to say that “Alberta is a bigger spender than its leaders would like you to believe … Alberta is not some libertarian’s dream, as some would like you to believe. The province is a perfect example of ‘big government.’”
By saying this, Berube has labeled Kenney and the UCP as hypocritical and manipulative.
What was more piercing, however, was when Berube attacked Kenney directly, suggesting that Kenney was “looking for someone or something to blame for his gigantic fiscal deficit.”
Berube went on to say that “Albertans need to realize that their leaders have let them down … he will seal his place as the proud heir of past leaders who drove Alberta to the brink of the fiscal precipice where it now finds itself.”
Berube’s attack is the latest incident in a war of words between the two provinces. Previously, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and CAQ leader Francois Legault had criticized Kenney and the Wexit movement. Blanchet, for example, has also disputed Kenney’s equalization claims, declaring that Alberta doesn’t “send a cheque to Quebec.”
Blanchet has also ridiculed the broad sentiment of alienation in the western province, stating that “the desire to do whatever they want with their oil might not be a sufficient reason to fuel a desire to become a country.”
A public art display in Montreal’s downtown core has drawn the ire of residents who believe the city’s spending is irresponsible.
According to Director Quebec of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Renaud Brossard, that $800,000 figure “is as much as the property taxes of 192 Montreal families.”
The bridge, which is used commonly in the summer months to sit on as it’s placed in a city square, has gotten harsh criticism from those in the Western provinces, as many feel it’s a wasteful way to spend $800,000.
This, though, isn’t confined to Montreal. Edmonton, Alberta recently coughed up a hefty $1 million towards a public art display.