As our Official Opposition’s Energy Critic, I am proud to stand up for our province and against the federal government’s recent efforts to stack the deck against Alberta.
In a recent column, the federal Liberal government’s Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi took some significant liberties with truth regarding the state of the energy industry here in Alberta.
First, the Minister states that his government has been successful in ensuring economic growth and “creating middle class jobs.” The numbers tell another story. Since 2014, the year before the Trudeau government came to power, Alberta has lost 40,000 private sector jobs. Today there are more than 100,000 Albertans who are out of work and not receiving help from employment insurance (EI).
The Minister also stated that Alberta’s oil industry has seen “continued growth.” Yet, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), at a time when energy demand and capital spending are increasing globally, total investment in Canada's oil and natural gas sector is expected to fall to $42 billion in 2018. That’s down from $81 billion four years ago.
Mr. Sohi goes on to challenge the former Conservative government’s record on pipelines, while ignoring his own administration’s failures. During Jason Kenney’s time as a Cabinet member, four major pipeline projects were completed adding capacity to move 1.74 million barrels per day. During Mr. Sohi’s time in Cabinet, the Trudeau government halted the Northern Gateway project, announced a tanker ban, and regulated the Energy East project out of existence.
The Minister claims that Justin Trudeau’s No More Pipelines Law, Bill C-69, “actually provides greater certainty” for industry. Industry leaders from Canada’s Pipeline Association, Explorers and Producers Association, Chemistry Industry Association, Petroleum Services Association have a much different take. Penning a joint column, recently published in the National Post, they pointed out that Bill C-69 replaces both the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, effectively erasing every relevant precedent currently in place.
Finally, the Minister accused conservatives of “talking down our energy sector.” I take issue with this empty rhetoric. Standing up for the people of Alberta is my job. It’s one reason why, on the day he became Natural Resources Minister, I personally wrote to Sohi to request a meeting to discuss Alberta’s energy sector. I received no response.
The federal Liberal government is clearly intent on stacking the deck against Alberta. And the people of our province deserve better. They deserve facts. They deserve the truth. And, perhaps most importantly, they deserve leadership that will stand up for our province.