05/29/2012 03:10 EDT | Updated 07/29/2012 05:12 EDT

Redford's Energy Plan Supported By Western Premiers


Alberta Premier Alison Redford says she is pleased that her counterparts supported her idea for a Canadian energy strategy at the Western Premiers' Conference in Edmonton on Tuesday.

"There's an understanding that what a Canadian energy strategy can be is going to be a set of principles where we can talk about interprovincial co-operation," Redford told reporters at the closing press conference. "What this is, in my mind, is a developing process."

Although Redford has pitched her energy plan since she first became Alberta premier last fall, it isn't clear what exactly it entails and she offered no further details on Tuesday.

Still, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall spoke about his support for the plan.

"If all that is achieved is a better understanding by all Canadians of the huge energy potential of this country, the fact we are a global energy power and that it's something we ought to be proud of while recognizing we need to do more in terms of sustainability ... it would be worthwhile in its pursuit," he said.

The premiers were expected to discuss recent remarks by federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, who blamed the Alberta oilsands for creating the so-called "Dutch disease" in Canada.

But Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger claimed Mulcair's remarks were not discussed.

"Manitoba looks at itself as a microcosm of the Canadian economy," he said. "We have small amounts of oil. We have hydroelectricity, we have a very significant manufacturing system ... and we want all sectors to do well. So our focus today was on how all of these sectors of our economy can do well."

In a joint statement, Redford, Selinger, Wall and representatives from B.C, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut called the Harper government's newly announced reforms to employment insurance a "good first step" while suggesting more could be done.

They also want Ottawa to increase immigration levels as well as give the provinces and territories more control over selection and settlement programs.

NWT Premier Bob McLeod, Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak and Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski also attended the conference.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark could not attend and instead sent her Jobs, Tourism and Innovation minister, Pat Bell.

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