Regards, Jim Muckerheide
NB Telegraph-Journal | E-Brief
As published on page A1/A2 on August 12, 2005
Lord says a consensus building at Banff
Premier wants nuclear to be part of a
national energy plan
By Carl Davies
Just a few hours into the premiers' meeting in Banff, Alta., Premier Bernard Lord was
already feeling positive vibes from his fellow premiers.
The heads of the country's provincial governments have gathered in the resort
town to discuss a number of issues.
Most of the talk revolves around finding ways to get the federal government to
provide more money for programs that are provincial responsibilities.
During a short break after morning meetings and lunch with the U.S. Ambassador
Mr. Lord said consensus was building on a number of issues after informal talks
during a fun-filled train ride from Calgary to Banff on Wednesday and
again during the morning meetings and lunch on Thursday.
Mr. Lord said the morning talks focused on transportation, energy and trade,
while the softwood lumber dispute and border issues were the main items on the
agenda at lunch.
On the energy front, Newfoundland's
Danny Williams will head up a committee that will focus on developing a
national energy strategy.
Mr. Lord's goal, as he stated before heading to Alberta, was to ensure nuclear energy is
part a comprehensive Canadian energy plan.
"Nuclear must be a component," Mr. Lord reiterated, saying that other
provinces with nuclear reactors closely followed the Point Lepreau saga in New
Brunswick, where New Brunswick was unsuccessful in obtaining federal support
for the refurbishment of the plant.
On transportation, Mr. Lord said a committee will work toward a national
transportation policy that will focus on ensuring Ottawa pays its share to improve transportation
"In New Brunswick,
we spend 100 per cent of gas tax revenues on transportation," Mr. Lord
He'd like to see Ottawa
do the same with the revenue it collects from gas tax.
The U.S. Ambassador received an earful from the premiers on softwood lumber,
after American politicians indicated they would essentially ignore a ruling
made in Canada's
favour this week in the ongoing dispute between the neighboring countries on
tariffs on exported wood.
"He was hearing us very clearly," Mr. Lord said.
"We had a very good exchange." After the morning meetings -
suppertime New Brunswick
- the premiers had not yet touched on what is expected to be the main topic of
this get together, post-secondary education.
Premier Lord said however there was plenty of informal discussion on the way to
The premier said there is support for his idea of a first minister's meeting on
postsecondary education to discuss a dedicated federal fund for post-secondary
"I sense there will be a consensus," Mr. Lord said, adding there are
differences between the premiers on an education fund that will not be worked
out at this meeting.
For the time being, "we're focusing on commonality," Mr. Lord said.
Moving the post-secondary file forward is the top priority for the premier at
He would like to see significant progress made toward establishing a federal
fund for post-secondary students in the coming year.
Another hot topic at the premier's conference has been daylight savings time
and whether the province's will follow the U.S. lead to establish an extra
month of daylight savings time.
Most premiers, along with Mr. Lord, believe it makes sense to synchronize
watches with our neighbours, given that they are our largest trading partner.
is the only province that doesn't observe daylight savings, while Mr. Williams,
whose province has its own unique time zone, said he doesn't care one way or
Mr. Lord has also floated the more radical idea of making New
Brunswick part of the eastern time zone, putting Fredericton
on the same time as Ottawa, Toronto,
and New York.
But first the premier will decide on whether or not to follow the U.S. clock
change, scheduled to be implemented in 2006.