By Greg Warmoth, CNN • Updated 11th October 2016
Ministers from Alberta and Saskatchewan will be meeting in Ottawa this week to debate what action they want to take against climate change.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said earlier this week that her province is poised to file a court challenge against the federal government’s plan to impose a national carbon price in the face of vocal opposition from her province.
Speaking to reporters Monday in Calgary ahead of the meeting, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley suggested that with 50 other provinces and territories set to give input on the initiative at the Council of the Federation meeting, there is opportunity for “creative people” to come up with innovative responses.
“If we can have 50 ideas on how to engage an industry that emits about 15% of Canada’s carbon dioxide emissions, then we’ll work hard to make those happen,” she said.
NDP party leader Rachel Notley addresses supporters following her victory in the May election.
Notley’s comments were made while visiting a coking plant in Calgary operated by US Steel , one of the companies reportedly most resistant to having to comply with the proposed carbon levy
The demand to consult First Nations about a possible carbon levy raised eyebrows among environmental groups who predicted an echo of the failed cap-and-trade scheme currently being put into action in California.
But Notley insisted it would only add to the environmental benefits of the proposed levy, otherwise known as a national cap-and-trade system.
“The whole point of a cap and trade system is to ensure we don’t have the adverse impacts we saw with California’s cap and trade,” she said.
“If that were to happen again it would cause challenges to environmental permits, it would cause quite a lot of economic uncertainty, which has no benefit to our industry,” she added.
Alexandre Despatie, a French Olympian in slalom canoe, was the toast of Edmonton when he drove his ice-cap powered car across Canada in June.
“So we’re quite open to some type of cap and trade system to ensure that we’re creating a good environment, but it is not going to interfere with the reality of our industry.”
After three decades as an oil and gas industry pipeline through Alberta’s forests and ridges, the carbon levy is the latest development in Notley’s plan to revitalize a province once synonymous with plummeting energy prices and an ugly recession.
In just 18 months, Alberta’s economy has rebounded and about 150,000 new jobs have been created while its unemployment rate has fallen by 20 percentage points.
Notley’s NDP is scheduled to take power in Alberta later this year and upon taking office she won’t be attending the upcoming Council of the Federation meeting in Ottawa.
“I’ve made it clear that I plan to spend more time getting to know what the issues are and the challenges are in Alberta and that I’m not interested in attending that meeting before I have an opportunity to really understand it fully,” she said.