Alberta premier calls on counterparts for economic meeting

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - Alberta's Progressive Conservative premier wants to meet with his provincial counterparts to discuss the state of the Canadian economy, even though Stephen Harper called the same proposal by Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion "panicking."

"Provinces play an integral role (in the economy)," Ed Stelmach told reporters after a speech to the Montreal Board of Trade recently.

"There are different policies that we would look at, how do we work together, tax policy, regulatory regimes, all of these things to help promote stability, predictability in the economy."

He said he would be talking with Quebec Premier Jean Charest later in the day to set up a meeting of the Council of the Federation, made up of provincial and territorial leaders.

A Stelmach spokesman said a meeting could materialize as early as the week of October 13.

During the French-language leaders' debate, Dion promised that within 30 days of forming a government after the Oct. 14 election, the Liberals would consult financial regulators, private-sector economists and provincial and territorial premiers before implementing measures to stimulate the economy.

In the subsequent English-language debate, Harper panned the idea.

"What leaders have to do is to have a plan and not panic. Last night, Stéphane, you panicked and announced an economic plan in the middle of a debate," the Conservative leader said.

"This banking and financial crisis is a crisis in the United States, it's not a crisis in Canada," Harper has also said.

Stelmach voiced his disapproval of parts of the federal Conservative platform that covers nuclear energy.

The federal Tories say they want to see 90 per cent of Canadian electricity come from non-emitting sources, including nuclear, by 2020.

Stelmach said Alberta should still get the final say in any plans to build reactors in the province.

"Albertans will decide, not the federal government, if we have nuclear power in this province," the premier told reporters. "No other jurisdiction other than Alberta."

The Alberta government is currently considering a proposal by Bruce Power in Ontario to build up to four nuclear reactors in northern Alberta.

Stelmach reiterated his preference for a majority government. When asked if he would prefer a majority Conservative victory, the premier pointed out he is from Alberta "and that speaks for itself."


in Year