Northern premiers ask provinces to do their part to reduce greenhouse gases

SASKATOON — Northern premiers say they expect provinces to do their part when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases in Canada.

The leaders of the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut brought up the issue in Saskatoon at the annual meeting of Canada’s premiers, which is to wrap up later Thursday.

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver told reporters his territory successfully negotiated a carbon pricing system with Ottawa and that anyone running for political leadership better have a plan to deal with climate change.

“As we’re sitting here having this conversation, my riding in Klondike has massive forest fires raging right now,” said Silver.

“Every region and every territory, every province needs to have a comprehensive plan.”

Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod said people in the North are living with the effects of a changing climate.

“We see it as an important job for us is to educate people in the south that their actions are having a big effect on us.”

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq said his territory, which relies on diesel for electricity, is responsible for less than one per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

The three premiers also underscored the need for a national plan to protect Arctic sovereignty and for funding to tackle issues like high food costs and inadequate housing and access to health care.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is hosting the meeting of The Council of the Federation, which has also included discussions on trade barriers and pipelines.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Wednesday that he is trying to work with Quebec Premier Francois Legault on moving oil through the province by pipeline as part of a future energy corridor like Energy East.

But Legault told reporters there is no “social acceptability” in Quebec for oil pipelines.

Kenney said he believes Legault understands the financial pain Albertans are feeling and that provinces receiving equalization payments should help develop resources that pay the bills in the federation.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has also said he plans to express his concerns with Legault about Quebec’s new law that bans public servants in positions of power from wearing religious symbols.

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