PMO confirms oil prices, energy sector jobs to be on first ministers' meeting agenda

WATCH ABOVE: The Panel talks about Alberta and the First Ministers' meeting, as well as the challenges facing Toronto's new city council

Less than two days before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with Canada’s premiers, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement to confirm the agenda at the first ministers’ meeting will “also include a discussion on the oil and gas industry in Canada and the impact of struggling oil prices on Canada’s energy sector and energy workers.”

WATCH BELOW: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to reporters at the Edmonton International Airport about the importance of talking about issues requiring immediate attention – like energy – at the first ministers’ meeting in Montreal.

The inclusion of a discussion on the growing concern over problems confronting Canada’s energy sector comes a day after Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley penned a letter to Trudeau calling for the growing oil price differential to be up for discussion at Friday’s meeting in Montreal.

READ MORE: Canada’s first ministers’ meeting shaping up to be most acrimonious in years

“As proposed, the meeting agenda does not include any discussion on the crisis facing the energy industry and the price differential that is crippling the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Canadian economies,” the premiers wrote.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan, Alberta premiers call for oil ‘crisis’ to be added to national meeting

Trudeau said Wednesday that he was looking forward to “talking about anything the premiers want to talk about.”

“Including oil, of course,” he said. “Natural resources are an essential part of our economy.”

“We’d like it in writing. Confirm that we’re going to discuss those items,” Moe said on Wednesday. “But rest assured that the premier of the province of Saskatchewan will bring those items to the floor .”

The call for a debate on what some in Alberta’s oilpatch are now calling a full-blown crisis came just days after Notley announced she would be mandating a temporary, industry-wide 8.7-per-cent cut in oil production in Alberta in order to address the growing backlog of oil that she says isn’t being moved because of insufficient pipeline capacity.

READ MORE: Notley and cabinet set legal wheels in motion to begin cutting oil production

WATCH BELOW: For the first time in a generation, the Alberta government will impose a cap on the amount of oil that industry is allowed to produce. As Tom Vernon explains, the move is not without its critics. (Aired Dec. 3, 2018)

Last month, the premier also announced her government plans to buy rail cars to move more oil that way until the long-term solution she is seeking – increased pipeline capacity – comes to fruition.

READ MORE: Large rally in central Alberta town calls for immediate construction of new pipelines

WATCH BELOW: A large group of people gathered in Drayton Valley on Tuesday calling for more support for the oil and gas industry and for pipelines. Albert Delitala reports. (Aired Dec. 4, 2018)

You can read Wednesday night’s statement from the PMO in its entirety below:

“The first ministers’ meeting will be an important opportunity for the prime minister and premiers to discuss how we can create jobs and economic growth that benefit everyone across the country in all sectors.

The conversations will focus on trade diversification, competitiveness, and how climate change and clean energy initiatives drive growth and job creation.

The agenda will also include a discussion on the oil and gas industry in Canada and the impact of struggling oil prices on Canada’s energy sector and energy workers.”

–With files from Global News’ David Baxter and from The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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