OTTAWA (November 8, 2018) – On November 7, 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the Canadian Electricity Association’s Board of Directors, Corporate partners, and stakeholders at the Powering Partnerships dinner, held at the National Arts Centre. This was the first time a sitting Prime Minister has addressed the Association.
Prime Minister Trudeau emphasized the critical importance of electricity to Canadian families and the Canadian economy, the innovation occurring within the sector and the industry’s sustainability efforts.
“It’s funny, but until you’re up in the air, you might not realize how these lines of light link us to our friends and neighbours,” Trudeau noted, “How electricity connects us as communities and runs through our daily lives. At the Canadian Electricity Association, that’s what you do – you power our lives every day.”
The Prime Minister referenced the numerous extreme weather incidents in 2018, causing widespread power outages and noted that these weather events will only get worse with the changing climate. As the Prime Minister noted that, “Sometimes we take electricity for granted, only to notice how much we need it when the power goes out.” Forest fires in British Columbia, Tornados in Ontario and storms and flooding in New Brunswick are a few examples of the weather-related incidents that occurred in 2018 causing wide-spread power outages.
Trudeau acknowledged the evenings’ award-winners including the 13 lifesaver winners, an award presented to employees of member companies since 1922 who have gone above and beyond to help someone in need. Two lineworkers from SaskPower, George St. Amant and Ryan Steinhaeusser, helped rescue survivors of the Humboldt Hockey team during the tragic accident in April this year. Both were presented with lifesaver medals.
Trudeau recognized the efforts of the electricity sector in greenhouse gas emission reductions noting that the, “Canadian electricity sector – with low carbon emission nuclear generation and huge hydroelectric producers like Hydro Quebec and B.C. Hydro – is one of the cleanest in the world.” He noted that 82% of electricity in Canada comes from non-GHG emitting sources.
He also referenced the innovation occurring in the sector and formally acknowledged two innovative projects from CEA member companies. “Last month we announced almost $5 million in funding for SaskPower to support their Distribution Modernization Program,” Trudeau said, “In August, we also announced an investment of $1.4 million in a smart grid project by ENMAX Power, to send extra renewable electricity back into Calgary’s grid for other people to use.”
CEA President and CEO Sergio Marchi said, “We are grateful that the Prime Minister recognizes the criticality of electricity as an enabler to a high quality of life, an efficient economy, and a greener, cleaner future. Moreover, his reference to how ‘these lines of light connect us to our friends and neighbours’ was both elegant and touching”.
A copy of the Prime Minister’s remarks can be found here: