Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, is representing British Columbia at the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC) between July 6 and 8 in St. John’s, Nfld., and has released the following statement to advance B.C.’s priorities:
“The Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference is an annual opportunity for federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for energy and mining portfolios to discuss shared priorities for collaborative action. Ahead of EMMC, I spoke with Minister of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Jonathan Wilkinson on ways we can strengthen our relationship to reduce carbon emissions, create clean-energy jobs and make life better for all Canadians.”
“In light of the global energy crisis and the ongoing war in Ukraine, it is imperative that we accelerate our transition to a low-carbon economy, while ensuring an affordable and secure energy future for Canada. This is going to take larger co-ordination, co-operation and encouragement between governments and regions. That’s why B.C. is an enthusiastic participant of NRCan’s Regional Energy and Resource Tables to help advance our top economic priorities in the natural resources sector, while protecting our shared natural environment.
“B.C. is a leader on climate action, and our energy systems are clean, affordable and reliable. With an average of 98% of our electricity generation coming from clean or renewable resources, primarily hydroelectric generation, B.C. is the cleanest jurisdiction in western North America. Our CleanBC plan commits to achieving 100% zero-emissions electricity.
“Our clean and affordable electricity allows us to decarbonize our economy through electrification at record speed. In the transportation sector, B.C. has seen substantial growth in electric vehicle (EV) uptake, from 5,000 light-duty EVs registered in B.C. in 2016 to more than 85,000 today. In the first quarter of 2022, EVs made up 17% of new light-duty passenger vehicles sold in B.C.
“In the buildings sector, B.C. is supporting the switch from fossil-fuel heating equipment to high-efficiency electric heat pumps by providing rebates and eliminating the provincial sales tax on these heat pumps. We are also taking steps to increase energy-efficiency requirements. Further federal support in B.C.’s electrification efforts in all sectors will allow us to build on our successes.
“A strong critical minerals supply chain is essential to supporting the growth of emerging technologies, such as electric cars, wind turbines and transit systems that the world needs to fight climate change. The mining sector is a foundational part of British Columbia’s economy, with an annual production value of $9 billion per year, providing more than 30,000 good, family-supporting jobs for people in communities throughout the province. B.C. is well-positioned for the transition to a low-carbon economy. Canada’s $3.8-billion commitment on critical minerals in Budget 2022 is welcome news to our province.
“The mining industry is the largest private-sector employer of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, providing economic opportunities for people living in rural and remote communities. Last month, Tahltan Central Government and the Province entered into the first consent-based decision-making agreement under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. B.C. has a strong desire for Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy to focus on sustainability and Indigenous reconciliation.
“I look forward to representing the people of British Columbia as I work with my provincial, territorial and federal colleagues to strengthen B.C.’s economy and to realize a common low-carbon future.”