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March 14, 2016
In This Issue
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in B.C.

Premiers welcome Canada – U.S. moves on lumber, methane

B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley welcomed the announcement that Canadian and U.S. officials have made progress on a pair of priority files for the two provinces: softwood lumber and cutting methane emissions.

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Washington last week to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama, premiers Clark and Notley were looking for action on the two files, and they got their wishes.

In Victoria, Clark cheered as Canada and the U.S. agreed to start negotiations on a softwood lumber pact. The previous agreement, signed in 2006, regulated Canadian softwood exports to the U.S., shielding them from billions of dollars in duties. B.C. is home to Canada’s largest softwood lumber sector, which is responsible for $3 billion in lumber exports a year.

In Edmonton, Notley welcomed a Canada-U.S. agreement to cut methane emissions, a key component of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan. Trudeau and Obama, as a priority outcome of their meeting, agreed on the goal of reducing methane emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025. Environment Canada will regulate emissions from new and existing oil and gas sources, and move “as expeditiously as possible” to implement national regulations in collaboration with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders, aiming for an initial phase of proposed regulations by early 2017.

“[President Obama] and I share a common goal: We want a clean growth economy that continues to provide good jobs and great opportunities for all of our citizens,” Prime Minister Trudeau said about the visit.

The prime minister has invited Obama to address parliament later this year, a visit that could coincide with the North American Leaders Summit, which Canada is hosting in the summer.

B.C. government supports roundtable looking at First Nations employment
The B.C. government is providing funding for the Tsimshian Roundtable, a unique partnership of the six Tsimshian First Nations and LNG proponents in northwest B.C., to develop solutions to historic employment barriers for First Nations.

The B.C. government is committing $9 million over three years through an agreement with Roundtable members to implement an innovative new framework that focuses on skills training and the socio-economic well-being of Tsimshian members as a critical path to employment and career success.