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Saskatchewan and Ottawa at odds over Pavilion Presentations at COP28 in Dubai

Saskatchewan is squabbling again with Ottawa—this time over an event space at a climate conference in Dubai.

The province says because Ottawa rejected most of its proposals, it decided to pull out of participating in the federal Liberal government’s pavilion at the COP28 conference, set for later this month.

The province then decided to purchase its own pavilion for $765,000.

Jim Reiter, the provincial energy minister, said last week the federal government accepted a proposal from Saskatchewan to have a reception at Ottawa’s pavilion.

However, he said Ottawa offered the province 45 minutes for the reception. It also rejected the province’s nine other proposals, which he said included panels led by industry leaders.

Mr. Reiter said there are 40 Saskatchewan companies and organizations accompanying Premier Scott Moe and four other government staff on the trip.

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He said Saskatchewan wants to showcase the companies’ sustainability efforts.

“We want to give them an opportunity to tell their story. That (45 minutes) obviously wouldn’t have been sufficient, so a different direction was chosen,” he said.

The companies and organizations are paying for their travel costs, he added.

Saskatchewan has long been at odds with the federal government over environmental policies, including the price on carbon, net-zero targets, emissions caps and assessments for energy projects.

Kaitlin Power, a spokesperson for federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, said in an email last week Ottawa chose to allow one event per province and territory, as there is limited time and availability.

“The government of Saskatchewan had registered for a pavilion event and was on the list until likely mid-October, though we are confirming the exact date that they pulled out,” Ms. Power said.

Jay Teneycke, a spokesperson for Saskatchewan’s trade ministry, said in an email the province signed a contract for its own pavilion on Oct. 16.

“The government of Saskatchewan knows that the federal government will not share our story,” Mr. Teneycke said.

“As an export-driven economy, it is vital that we explore new markets and partnerships that could result in more jobs and opportunities for the residents of Saskatchewan.”

Ottawa’s pavilion includes presentations covering various topics including finance, trade, health, indigenous leadership, urbanization, energy, industry, and Canada’s plan for the labor force to respond to climate change.

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