Alberta Governor General Donald Ethell delivered the Stelmach government's speech from the throne this afternoon. There were a number of highlights relating to energy and climate change matters, most of which were reaffirmations of the Government's existing strategy and plans. These included:
- the Government considers it a priority to improve Alberta's linkages with Asia, particularly Japan, India, China and Korea
- the Government believes that improving west coast port capacity (whether by pipeline or rail) to Asia is in Canada's interest. This is a show of support by the Government for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion and the Enbridge Gateway projects.
- the Government continues to oppose the formation of a national securities regulator
- streamlining of the oil and gas regulatory system (i.e. the creation of a single regulator) will continue
- the Government remains committed to value-added upgrading, carbon capture and sequestration, and enhanced oil recovery
- the Government is awaiting the report of the expert panel appointed to recommend on creating a world-class monitoring system for the oil sands area
- the Government will continue to work towards achieving carbon dioxide reduction goals, in particular by continuing to promote commercial-scale carbon capture projects (the speech noted that 17 million tonnes of CO2 reductions have been achieved to date, and $186 million has been collected by the Climate Change Emissions Management Fund)
- the use of wood fibre for renewable biofuels will be promoted
Next up for the Government is the release of the Budget, in which a $5 billion deficit is widely projected, on Thursday.