Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed carbon emissions and the strike by B.C. port workers during a brief meeting Friday with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.
Both leaders were in town for the first day of the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day celebration of western culture that features a parade, rodeo events, pancake breakfasts and concerts. The meeting with Smith was his first stop on a two-day visit.
The two shook hands and then sat down, briefly outlining their concerns to the media before meeting privately.
“We do have some serious things that we need to discuss,” Smith said.
“We’d like to bring our emissions reduction and energy development plan with a targeted carbon neutrality by 2050 and line up with some of the objectives of the federal government. That will require us to have some conversations.”
Smith also flagged the federal government’s goal of having a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, saying it isn’t realistic for Alberta without a massive cost to the economy.
“We would like to establish a working group so that we can talk about how we might be able to achieve a net-zero power grid … but that is not possible by 2035,” she added.
Both Canada and Alberta are aiming to be net-zero by 2050, but the federal government has set multiple earlier targets along the way.
The prime minister said the working group between the two governments is a great achievement.
“We will be able to sit down and really look at what our experts are saying, figure out the common ground and figure out the path forward,” Trudeau said.
“That’s going to make sure we’re responding to the energy needs of a growing economy around the world while at the same time making sure that we get that net zero by 2050 that we all agree on.”
Smith is also asking for Parliament to be recalled to put an end to the port strike, which began about a week ago, saying it is “causing extreme hardship to our producers and our exporters.”
Trudeau did not commit to doing so, but said he realizes how much of an effect it has had on producers across the Prairies.
He said he still believes that the best deals are found at the bargaining table.
“We will keep putting a lot of pressure on all parties to find that solution that I know is out there, but I also know that pressure is mounting, day by day, and people are really, really worried about how things could look next week and we are as well.”