Small nuclear reactors can reduce Saskatchewan’s power emissions to zero: Premier Scott Moe
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.”
New Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan overseeing hometown Atlantic boom, faced with western bust
As TMX pipeline fortunes vacillate and energy industry capital and jobs flee Alberta, Newfoundland MP and newly-minted Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan’s empathy for the West was overshadowed by his hometown enthusiasm.
Asked how being the furthest away from a stalled oil patch and the woes that has created for westerners, the Member of Parliament for St. John’s South—Mount Pearl said he “understand(s) where their head’s at right now… and all I can say is, you know, I will make my case.”
O’Regan then noted “that outside of the line items that I’ve had to deal with the direct responsibilities of the two ministries I’ve held previously, my number one priority has been oil and gas in Newfoundland and in Labrador.”
And compared to Alberta’s withering fortunes, the moving trucks at EnCana’s Calgary headquarters, bound for Colorado after a Halloween re-brand, Atlantic Canada’s offshore exploration boom has already begun.
In April, then-Environment minister Catherine McKenna’s green-lit Equinor’s Flemish Pass project located about 400 kilometres East of Newfoundland and Labrador. Meanwhile a “public comment” period has expired on a different proposal for the Flemish Passs locale by China National Offshore Oil Corporation.
“Newfoundland and Labrador is actually more dependent on oil and gas royalties than Alberta is … but I understand it is not the same industry,” said O’Regan.
Four offshore wells in the Atlantic – Hibernia, Terra Nova (Suncor), White Rose (Husky) and Hebron (Exxon) – already provide job and royalties for the province.
“I’m reminded every day that in Newfoundland and Labrador we get brand (sic) crude prices which today are still about doubled what Alberta gets for its. And you know that’s a very real concern.”
An estimated 120,000 oil patch jobs and related business has vacated Alberta and Saskatchewan since voters gave Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals their first majority government mandate in 2015.
The failure to construct tidewater transmission lines for Alberta bitumen has kept its market value at below discount rates. Conversely, offshore drilling plays on the Atlantic coast are in the water, heading to sea or sitting on the regulatory launch pad–five in all proposed by BHP Billiton, BP Canada, and Exxon Mobile.
New Environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson will determine the fate of those projects as McKenna was shuffled to the Infrastructure portfolio.
While neither Saskatchewan or Alberta elected a Liberal MP in #exln43, Trudeau tapped his former Natural Resource Minister Jim Carr–MP for Winnipeg South Centre – as “special representative for the Prairies…(to) ensure that the people of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have a strong voice in Ottawa.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says “we are going to see more of the same from this Prime Minister” after his discussion with Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, after Conservative leader Andrew Scheer also met with the PM.
Both men expressed “disappointment” in their individual conversations with Trudeau.
“Today I did not hear a commitment to moving forward with those items” of importance to the people of Saskatchewan,” Moe told reporters afterwards, namely to “put the carbon tax on pause to see if the province can achieve those kind of results, and replicate them if other provinces so choose.”
Scheer went into his meeting declaring that the country “Is more divided than it’s ever been”, then coming out noted “a little disappointed” that he’ll have to wait more than three weeks to face-off against Trudeau in the Commons.
Parliament will reconvene on Dec. 5 for selection of Speaker of the House to be followed by a Throne speech given by the Governor General, in which Trudeau will present his plan for the country that will hold the Commons’ confidence, or not.
After MPs are sworn in, the first order of business is electing a speaker which is open to any member who is not part of cabinet or a party leader.
The last time a speaker was chosen and Throne speech given the same day was in 1988 – the Canada-US free-trade election – after Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservatives lost 34 seats in the contest, but held their majority government.
John Turner managed to double Liberals’ Opposition standing but it was not even close after they cratered to 39 seats in #elxn33 (1984), the federal party’s second worst defeat when Mulroney posted the largest ever majority.
Trudeau’s ability in 2015 to do what Turner could not, and his political staying power not unlike Mulroney’s, is something to behold, amidst a string of scandals that would have toppled his antecedents on either side of the aisle.
Following the Oct. 2019 general election, Trudeau’s Liberal Party came up 13 seats shy of a majority with 157, and could be propped up by either the New Democrats’ (24 seats) support, or the Bloc Quebecois (32 seats). Scheer and the Conservatives occupy 121 seats, an overall gain from the previous parliament.
But before a Speaker is elected, Canadians will have a fortnight and a day to ruminate over Trudeau’s cabinet choices for this 43rd Parliament.
With Liberal stalwart Ralph Goodale and Amerjeet Sohi among party casualties in #elxn43, there are important Public Safety and Industry portfolios to fill for Trudeau’s Nov. 20 announcement next Wednesday.
During his brief remarks made after greeting Scheer this morning, Trudeau promised “affordability for Canadians, growth for the middle class and the fight against climate change.” – or as Moe described it, “more of the same”.
Trudeau’s words came off glib compared to Moe’s straightforward ask that Trudeau put “policy in place to get our goods to market…beyond the Trans Mountain pipeline”.
“That is how we create wealth in our province and that is how we ultimately share it with the rest of the nation,” Moe told reporters.
Scheer also said he wants Trudeau to revisit a “national energy corridor” and “demonstrate a roadmap for Trans Mountain to be completed to show western Canadians that there’s going to be progress on that.”
On Nov. 8, Trudeau had individual meetings with Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King.
*Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated the last time a House Speaker and Throne Speech were given on the first sitting day of Parliament occurred in 1984. This was incorrect and has been amended in the story. From 1930 up to 1988, the election of the Speaker occurred on the same day as the Speech from the Throne (the Opening of Parliament).
An Edmonton man has been arrested after a string of poppy box robberies in Lloydminster, Alta., and Sherwood Park.
RCMP responded to a call at a Lloydminster Tim Hortons after the thief stole a poppy box off the counter and walked out.
Later that night, two customers at a local business in Sherwood Park saw a man stealing poppy boxes before fleeing, according to RCMP. The couple followed him and detained him with the help of an off duty police officer.
Korey McPhee, 34 of Lloydminster, was charged in the theft of both poppy boxes.
McPhee appeared in court on Wednesday.
During a meeting in Ottawa, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister gave some “friendly advice” to Justin Trudeau. Pallister told Trudeau that there was growing frustration in western Canada has towards Ottawa, according to the CBC.
In their meeting, the two leaders discussed a range of issues that came up during the election campaign. This included climate change and indigenous issues, as well as western alienation. Speaking to the CBC, Pallister stated that “there’s some great frustration with the lack of progress, not just on pipelines, but on other things.”
After the election, a deep frustration with Ottawa turned quickly into a separatist movement. This was blamed on the Liberal party, who due to a series of policy decisions, did not pick up a single seat in Alberta. Parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have also been vocal in their frustration with Trudeau’s government.
Pallister was critical of Trudeau’s carbon tax and other policies designed to hinder the Canadian oil and gas sector. This has been a deeply contentious topic in the prairies, especially due to the recession that was triggered as a result of Trudeau’s pipeline bungle.
Unlike the Saskatchewan and Alberta premiers, Pallister has not threatened to rip up the equalization agreement.