09/11/2012 06:18 EDT | Updated 11/11/2012 05:12 EST

No Need For National Energy Strategy, Oliver Says


Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says there is no need for the provinces to create a National Energy Strategy because Ottawa already has one.

Oliver said Tuesday he has spoken with Alberta Premier Alison Redford on a number of occasions about her plans for a NES. But he said as far as he could tell, Redford mentioned nothing in their conversations that his government wasn't already covering.

"[But] if you want to put a bow on it and call it a National Energy Strategy, go ahead," Oliver said at the closing news conference of the Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

According to Oliver, Ottawa isn't giving it that label because "it's problematic in some areas of the country."

Prior to the Council of the Federation Meeting this summer in Halifax, there was a lot of discussion about the premiers developing a co-ordinated national strategy for the development, marketing and use of Canada's vast energy resources. The discussions were derailed by a serious dispute between Alberta and B.C. over Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

Talks about a National Energy Strategy weren't even on the agenda at the energy ministers meeting in P.E.I.

The Alberta reaction to Oliver's claim was subdued.

"Premier Redford, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Kathy Dunderdale, and the Premier of Manitoba Greg Selinger were tasked with building an energy strategy that recognizes regional priorities and areas of expertise," wrote Mike Deising, spokesman for Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes, in response to CBC News.

"They are engaging provincial and territorial energy ministers to explore ways to streamline regulatory processes, develop innovative energy solutions and efficiencies and grow our markets."

A press release issued by Oliver's office said the ministers agreed at their meeting to work on regulatory reform, labour market issues, international trade and innovation and energy efficiency, to strengthen Canada's position as an energy and mining leader.

Quebec, whose government is in transition following the Parti Québécois' minority win last week, was not represented by a minister and did not take a position on these issues, the release said. It was the only province not represented at the meeting.

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