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Canada’s energy policy must be about more than oil exports. First and foremost it must be about clean and public energy production. That is one of the main messages that Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), hopes the federal and provincial energy ministers will hear, as they meet in Charlottetown for the next few days.

In a letter sent to the federal and all provincial energy ministers earlier this week, Moist insists that governments need to focus more on Canadians’ energy security and the development of clean, public energy.

A sustainable economy must be built on more than the direct export of our natural resources: our own energy security must be a priority. We must direct the wealth generated by our natural resources to investment in a public energy system that is sustainable both environmentally and economically”, Moist says.

Moist also raised the importance of clean and public energy production. “Sustainable green jobs are the key to building a 21st century energy infrastructure. 21st century energy for Canada means prioritizing east-west electricity transmission systems while respecting provincial jurisdiction and local and Aboriginal communities, sustainable development in energy production and investing in new technology for sustainable consumption. It means building public energy infrastructure to support new technology and innovative ways of using energy that is already being created.”

CUPE offered several recommendations in order to ensure a just transition for workers who would move from non-renewable energy to green and renewable energy (read the recommendations in the letter below).

The increased use of wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and small scale hydro or bio-fuel production from biomass will also present opportunities for new industries and sustainable employment. However, a rational, sustained and equitable development of green energy, production, transmission and distribution must be done through publicly owned and locally controlled and managed utilities.”

CUPE is Canada’s largest union with 620,000 members, including 36,000 members in the electric utilities sector.

The shift to an economically sustainable and environmentally conscious energy sector is necessary for energy security and equality of access for future generations”, says Moist.