On September 15, 2014 the Office of the Premier sent mandate letters to each of the Premier's new ministers. In addition to highlighting the provincial government's general priorities, each letter addresses specific focus points for each ministry. The Premier has indicated in a release that the mandate letters will be the guiding principles upon which all Albertans will judge his government going forward.
The letter addressed to Frank Oberle, the new Minister of Energy, includes mandates to expand Alberta's access to key global markets for energy commodities and products and work collaboratively with partners to develop strategies that address issues and barriers and understand social license challenges within key markets and jurisdictions.
Given that the Premier has also taken on the portfolios of International and Intergovernmental Relations and Aboriginal Relations, it is clear that expanding market access is probably the single most important priority for the new administration.
Likewise, the letter to Kyle Fawcett, the new Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development includes:
- Expand Alberta's market access to become a preferred global supplier for natural resources and natural resource products.
- Update Alberta's Climate Change Strategy in consultation with Alberta Energy, Alberta Innovates - Energy and Environmental Solutions and the Climate Change and Emissions Management (CCEMC) Corporation and ensure collaboration to achieve maximum greenhouse gas reductions and the effectiveness of policy and funding decisions.
The mandate to update Alberta's Climate Change Strategy is particularly interesting given the government's recent indication that it has no immediate intention to raise Alberta's $15-per-tonne carbon levy on large emitters or adjust its existing carbon emission targets. What the updated Climate Change Strategy will look like, and how it will dovetail with the priority to expand market access, are questions to which the answers are not immediately obvious but will certainly have far-reaching implications for the province.
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