Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) President Garth Frizzell, and Chair of the Western Economic Solutions Taskforce (WEST) Randy Goulden, issued this statement following the recent meeting of WEST held virtually on January 26th.
"Canada's municipalities are at their best when they come together to advocate for each other, and for a stronger Canada. FCM’s Western Economic Solutions Taskforce was created to advocate on behalf of western communities, and to generate forward-thinking solutions to the economic downturn that was in part brought on by the pressures facing Canada’s non-renewable energy sector.
“Canada, like the rest of world, is at the outset of a transition to a low-carbon energy future. WEST supports the goal of achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, and asserts that ensuring economic stability for communities in energy producing regions must be an integral part of that plan. WEST is advancing a series of recommendations to achieve a ‘place-based’ transition that creates a bright economic future for all communities. In the near-term, that includes building new energy infrastructure to get Canada’s energy to international markets.
"The leadership of FCM and WEST have seen and heard the disappointment here in Canada at the recent Executive Order issued by US President Biden to rescind the federal permits for the Keystone XL pipeline project. While FCM does not advocate for specific infrastructure projects, it is clear that the anxiety caused by the uncertainty in the energy sector, and the resulting challenges facing the communities that rely on those jobs, is very real.
“Upon news of the Biden Executive Order, FCM reached out quickly to several key federal Ministers' offices to clearly reiterate FCM’s policy that calls on the Canadian government to support the development of nation-building energy infrastructure projects. There has been an encouraging commitment from our federal counterparts to continue to work with FCM and WEST on important shared priorities.
“There are solutions to this national challenge. As part of an FCM Board-approved resolution passed in September 2020, FCM is advocating to the federal government to work with provinces, municipalities, and Indigenous groups to establish national utility corridors, which could include pipelines and other resource and utility structures, as a national priority. Such a project, when coupled with a clear and timely federal impact assessment process, would provide the predictability that energy communities need to thrive.
“A strong western Canada is critical for a strong nation and the post-pandemic economy. Together with our western membership, FCM and WEST have advocated for investments in municipal infrastructure and transportation and have pushed hard to secure gains for westerners. Such gains include the new federal measure to clean up orphaned and inactive oil and gas wells – a direct response to our combined advocacy efforts.
“WEST will continue to drive solutions to support struggling communities affected by economic uncertainty, including addressing the cost of carbon pricing on farmers, investing in trade infrastructure, and scaling up the impact of Western regional economic development agencies -- building on regional strengths like energy, forestry and agriculture, and growing new knowledge-based sectors.
"Municipal leaders are on the front lines of national challenges. Through WEST and its western membership, we are working hard to ensure that the municipal perspectives of our western communities are fully voiced at the federal level.”
For more information please contact:
FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, firstname.lastname@example.org