“The honest truth is I don’t know what precisely what it means. I’m looking forward to having some discussions with some provinces to find out what they have in mind in terms of that,” Harper told an open-line Calgary radio show Thursday.
Harper also joked that he “always gets nervous” when he hears the words "national" and "energy" together.
Albertans to this day blame the national energy program created by former Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau in the early 1980s for depressing oil prices and sending the economy into a tailspin.
Redford, along with premiers Christy Clark of B.C. and Saskatchewan's Brad Wall plan to head to Ottawa in the coming weeks to discuss a national energy strategy.
Redford has delivered few details, but says she wants to ensure that everyone is working together to promote the nation's energy resources and take the lead on environmentally friendly initiatives.
She has said the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to get oil to Asia via B.C. and the Keystone XL line through the U.S. Midwest are good examples of cross-jurisdictional projects.
Harper's government has supported the proposed U.S. pipeline, which is now on hold until 2013, mainly due to concerns the line would run through ecologically sensitive areas of Nebraska.
Redford, in last fall's party campaign to become leader, also proposed making Alberta the petro equivalent of Silicon Valley — a hub of research, learning, product development and environmental initiatives.