Election News

Division unites Albertans under a vision for their future and Canadian confederation

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Premier-elect Jason Kenney shared the story of meeting a 17-year old boy three years ago at a rural Alberta gas station, who asked him to please hurry up with the next election. Mr. Kenney responded that the timing wasn’t up to him, but he was doing the best he could to prepare. Tears welled up in the boys eyes – he said, my father’s been unemployed for many months and he’s starting to get depressed, and I’m the only source of income for my parents and four siblings. Mr. Kenney said he’s thought about that boy every day for the last three years and it’s people like him that the United Conservative government will fight for.

An astounding record 72 percent of Albertans voted in the provincial election on April 16 with overwhelming support for a majority UCP government. The advance polls saw triple the turnout from the 2015 election, an indication that a change in government was coming. With these early votes still to be counted, the UCP sit at approximately 63 seats out of 87 in the legislature. The official and only opposition in the legislature are the NDP at approximately 24 seats – all other parties completely shut out as the Liberals lost their only seat and the Alberta Party lost their three, despite offering a full slate of candidates for the ballots. Albertans were exceptionally clear about the direction they want and that is conservative governance.

The UCP is a brand new party with most of its candidates new to the political game, though not in their professions, under experienced leadership, suggesting an interesting dynamic to come. In particular, legislative debate will be interesting because the NDP changed their public tune while in government to that of supporting (in rhetoric only, not in action) petroleum development and will now have no choice but to remain supportive or mute on the topic as official opposition, lest their hypocrisy become even more evident and lose further seats in the next election.

Over the past several election cycles, the left-wing has pushed the narrative of fear, hate, and division to the repulsion of most voters. On Tuesday, Albertans solidly thumped that narrative in favour of what really matters – facts, integrity, and a strong, transparent agenda and vision for the economic and social well-being of not just those in the province, but as Mr. Kenney conveyed in his speech, for all Canadians, including those who are Indigenous.

In a direct appeal to Quebec’s Premier for collaboration between the two provinces, the Premier-elect spoke at length in French that the two leaders must find common ground to strengthen the self-sufficiency of both economies. Two years ago, TransCanada pulled the plug on its proposed Energy East pipeline, which would have both provided the eastern provinces with oil and natural gas from home instead of foreign dictatorships and opened a market to Europe, due to opposition from politically charged federal regulators, local politicians, and paid environmental activists.

Premier-elect Kenney gave a taste of his leadership style over the next four years by directly calling out the foreign sources of anti-Canadian funding that have targeted energy production and infrastructure, in addition to other industries such as fishing – the Rockefellers, Tides, and the Suzuki Foundation among those in his sights for potential legal action. Another was Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has stonewalled energy infrastructure projects and introduced a carbon tax that only harms individuals and economic competitiveness while doing nothing to protect or improve the environment. The scene is set for another showdown between Alberta and a noxious Trudeau Prime Minister, and as an adversary, Justin is nowhere near as tough or clever as his father was.

Outgoing NDP Premier Rachel Notley had focused on name-calling and division, pressuring the wrongful ejection of two UCP candidates – Randy Kerr and then Caylan Ford – even going so far as to slander Mr. Kenney regarding the two without facts in the televised leaders’ debate. In the case of Ms. Ford, the NDP showed the extent of their dishonesty when they slandered her as a white supremacist, when the truth is Ms. Ford was manipulated and blackmailed by a sociopath connected to Press Progress – a propaganda organization for the left. How utterly disgusting and hypocritical for the left to claim championship of women while simultaneously smearing a reputation that may last beyond the election. It also highlights the mainstream media’s inability to conduct quality journalism and refuse to publish stories without even scraps of evidence. As all the losing parties lamented in their concession speeches, the UCP need to prove they are better – absolutely, and they can begin by righting the wrongs endured by Mr. Kerr and Ms. Ford. Premier-elect Kenney’s character will be tested and judged as much by his accomplishments for Alberta as the manner in which he treats those who are loyal to and supportive of him.

The media continued to push their narrative of how divisive the election was. No, only the NDP and the media were divisive because it’s the only game plan they know. Albertans, who have been suffering under years of prolonged economic recession without much hope that the compounded situation of provincial, federal, and foreign obstruction would change, demanded and manifested an opportunity to restore the Alberta Advantage. Canadian confederation has weakened as Alberta has suffered. It’s time to unite behind a positive and fact-based vision for the highest and best interests of all Canadians and deny the politics of division going forward.

Albertans reject nasty, divisive politics but the NDP still haven’t clued in

Albertans woke up to an electoral hangover on May 6, 2015. It was spring, but the air and skies were tinged with cool and grey. The entrepreneurial heartland of downtown Calgary was stone-faced with a noticeable mute in the air as everyone mumbled denials that they themselves had voted for the far-left New Democratic Party, with its socialist and communist roots. Yet somehow the province had just elected its first new majority government in forty-four years under now-Premier Rachel Notley.

The Progressive Conservatives, who had guided Alberta’s government uninterrupted since 1971, threw away their final chance at salvation when Jim Prentice became leader. They begged him to restore their fortunes then refused to change their ways and ensure Prentice had a real chance to make things right. Albertans had realized during the 2012 provincial election that the Wildrose Party were too negative and not their cup of tea, later reinforced by Danielle Smith’s shameless, egotistical, and somehow unironic (considering the foundations of her Wildrose caucus) floor-crossing in 2014. This decision, along with the unfortunate gender optics of Prentice’s rebuttal to Notley in a televised debate that “math is hard” (particularly the NDP-implemented Discovery Math method) turned Albertans off. Stop with the bickering and get on with the job, was the sentiment.

The NDP were the only other party with a full slate of 87 candidates for the 2015 provincial election. So, every Albertan who wanted to make a point chose the ballot box as their vehicle of silent resistance and thought they would be the only ones to mark a protest vote with the NDP. Good morning, Wednesday.

Four years later and Alberta is now days away from choosing their next Premier and government. An NDP television commercial shows a middle-aged man sitting in his kitchen talking about how he had always been a PC voter, but geez – there’s something he just can’t put his finger on, about something non-descript about that Jason Kenney, and so, what the hell, he’ll vote for Rachel Notley because at least with her he knows what he’s getting. Except he doesn’t.

Few things rile Albertans’ anger like mention of a sales tax, unjustified in the country’s economic engine, yet the first thing Premier Notley did was introduce a carbon tax that, in practice, is a sales tax, despite not once mentioning it during the election campaign. Make no mistake, Notley knew early on in the 2015 campaign – as Prentice did – that she would become the next Premier and would be calling the policy shots.

We do know that Notley can neither tout the benefits of her four years in government nor the same for another four, amid the deep entrenchment of an economic crisis and the human suffering that goes along with it. Instead, Notley put out a commercial alluding to some vague bad-ness about Kenney, outright defamed him in the televised debate – and doubled down on her comments when Kenney challenged her – and kicked off the election with a horrible smear campaign deliberately intended to damage the reputation of one of the United Conservative’s star candidates, as well as her replacement.

‘White supremacist’; ‘misogynist’; ‘sexist’; ‘racist’: it is increasingly evident, as moderate liberal politics disappears and is replaced by inflammatory far-left proponents, that when politicians do not have facts on their side they engage in divisive, actually hate-filled campaign tactics and rhetoric (anything they disagree with from conservatives is always “hateful”). As always, the mainstream news media is willingly complicit in this race to the bottom by throwing qualified individuals under the bus on a scrap of something rather than the truth of everything, desperate for attention as people stop believing them, too. If Albertans actively showed their displeasure at these sick games before, their reaction will only be stronger now in context of rising unemployment, suicide, foreclosures, and taxation through the roof from all levels of government.

This election, strategic voting must be forward-thinking, not premised on disillusionment over the past. Deny the fearmongering NDP your vote and their accompanying satisfaction of believing corrosive, name-calling politics works. If you don’t want to support the UCP, then look to the Alberta Party – they also have a full slate of candidates who would likely make complementary allies of a UCP government or coalition, rather than adversaries who accomplish little of value.

For the Albertans lucky enough not to feel the pit of their stomach every minute of every day, consider your neighbours when you vote on Tuesday.

Kenney will launch a carbon tax court fight if he wins election and supports Indigenous projects

United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney says if he wins the Alberta election he will first get rid of the provincial carbon tax implemented by the NDP government, then launch a formal court challenge against the federal carbon tax before the end of April.

The Premier-hopeful said there are constitutional questions surrounding whether Ottawa can even impose the tax, which formally began this week in the four provinces that refused to bring in their own tax – Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Mr. Kenney added that since the constitutional challenge could take years so he’ll also do whatever he can to see Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defeated in the fall election.

“It is in Alberta’s vital economic interests, for the future of jobs and prosperity in this province, that we not only defeat this tax-hiking NDP government, but that we also defeat their close ally in Ottawa — Justin Trudeau. I, as leader of the United Conservative party, will do everything within our power to ensure that he is not returned as Prime Minister.” Mr. Kenney said last Monday.

He also promised to reduce wait times on energy projects to try to make them the fastest in North America, stating that approvals for oil wells currently take a year and a half, which he says places Alberta far behind Saskatchewan and U.S. jurisdictions and puts the province at a competitive disadvantage. He says if his party were elected April 16, he would set up legislated targets to cut wait times and would publish data to update progress. The goal would be to cut timelines in half and eventually make them the shortest in North America.

Mr. Kenney also guaranteed that, by law, once a project has received its permit, the royalty structure would remain the same throughout the life of the project. Additionally, his government would intervene at all National Energy Board hearings that affected Alberta’s oil and gas interests.

At the Enoch Cree Nation near Edmonton, Mr. Kenney announced his government would set up a Crown corporation to help Indigenous communities invest in resource projects., saying, “We need a radically new approach from the failure of the past so we can get a fair price for our energy, and we need to move beyond empty words to give real, concrete meaning to reconciliation with Aboriginal Canadians.” The Crown corporation would provide technical and advisory support to Indigenous communities and potentially provide loan guarantees or co-invested debt and equity lending from the Alberta government.

Mr. Kenney said a UCP government would consult with First Nations about how to structure the Aboriginal Opportunities Corporation and ensure there is Indigenous representation on its board. This would entail an initial investment of CAD $24 million to set it up and set aside CAD $1 billion to facilitate and backstop financing for Indigenous peoples who want to buy into pipelines and other resource infrastructure. These funds would come from the re-allocation of the NDP’s CAD $3.7-billion plan to ship more oil by rail, which the UCP has said it would cancel.

Mr. Kenney said many First Nations support projects such as the stalled Trans Mountain expansion to the West Coast, but do not have financial means to buy a stake and that opposing Indigenous groups have the support of well-funded foreign environmental organizations. “This is not just about getting a pipeline built. It’s not just in the strategic economic interests in Alberta. I also believe it is a truly moral cause,” he said, “Reconciliation needs to be about more than just words and symbols. It needs to be about substance. It needs, in part, to be about helping to empower our First Nations communities to fully develop their social and economic potential.

British Columbia’s Eagle Spirit entrepreneur Calvin Helin, who has proposed a multibillion-dollar Indigenous oil pipeline between the oilsands and the West coast supports Mr. Kenney’s plan, saying on Twitter, “No lip service but a real partnership with government.

The NDP Scandal No One Is Talking About

The NDP government has tried to hide a wasted $2 billion from Alberta taxpayers. This unnecessary $2 billion cost has added to Alberta’s exploding provincial debt, currently at $53 billion.

Electricity is a complex topic and one of the less well-understood issues for Albertans. Rachel Notley’s NDP took advantage of this when they interfered with power purchase agreements immediately after forming government in 2015.

Minister of Energy Margaret McCuaig-Boyd claimed the NDP government was taking action to provide Albertans with a more stable, affordable, and reliable electricity system. However, their actions resulted in the resignations of all but one board member from the Balancing Pool and a cost of $2 billion for Alberta taxpayers.

For decades, Alberta’s competitive market for electricity kept prices low and encouraged investment, including market-financed green power. Before the NDP, a market-friendly electricity system brought $20 billion in investment dollars to Alberta to build 10,000 megawatts of new power since 1996, including 1,727 megawatts of market-based green energy without subsidies.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, the province’s electricity industry was restructured to introduce competition and allow for full deregulation of electrical generation through the implementation of Power Purchase Arrangements (PPAs). Legislation – not negotiated contracts – mandates that the PPAs govern the relationship between the producer and the buyer.

Zealous to implement their ideological view, the NDP waited only a mere month after winning the election to implement carbon tax changes for large greenhouse gas emitters, including coal-fired power plants. Attempting to change the rules mid-game triggered a “hand-back provision” in the contract between the Province and electricity producers that producers say are to their detriment.

The NDP government sued all the power producers. Instead of accepting back the power purchase agreements through the Balancing Pool, which acts as a backstop for the electricity market, the NDP required the Balancing Pool to sue the producers. The NDP government eventually lost in a settlement agreed to out of court.

What does this mean for you?

Between 2004 and 2014 most residential electricity customers would receive $2 to $3 back from the Balancing Pool on their electricity bills. The Balancing Pool had a surplus of about $700 million when the Progressive Conservatives lost government in 2015 – under the NDP, there is now a $1 billion deficit.

This means you pay an additional $2 to $3 dollars extra as a Balancing Pool rider on your ENMAX bill every month. However, if this reflected the true cost of electricity it would be closer to $20 because the NDP has funded the Balancing Pool by adding to Alberta’s debt in an attempt to hide the $2 billion loss from you.

A few dollars may not seem like much on an ENMAX bill, but Albertans will pay for it one way or another. How many $2 billion blunders can you afford?

Millennials Can’t Afford an NDP Government

Do you believe you are better able to create the life you dream of in Alberta today than you were four years ago?

Most Millennials will say no.

The central issue of this election campaign is the economy. The fact is Albertans have been harmed by an NDP government. Their carbon tax, specifically, raises the cost of everything. Life becomes ever-more unaffordable, particularly for Millennials who are still creating the foundations of their lives.

The NDP did not campaign on the introduction of a carbon tax in 2015, which now takes $1.4 billion out of the pockets of ordinary Albertans and the companies they work for every year. When it was introduced, the NDP said the carbon tax would be “revenue neutral” but only a third was ever “recycled” to Albertans.

No financial stability for Millennials and young families

You are a young family of four: Rachel Notley’s carbon tax has added $30 every month on average to your ENMAX bill. You are paying $1.53/ GJ for natural gas – which is more than the natural gas companies do.  If the NDP are re-elected, this is likely to reach the $100 mark on the carbon levy alone. Notley’s government assumes a couple with two children earn up to $95,000 per year: do you have an extra $100 every month to put toward a higher carbon tax?

Currently, Albertans pay 19.74 percent in carbon tax on each litre of gasoline at the pumps. 13 percent is the federal rate and 6.73 percent is the provincial rate, which Notley has vowed to double. This is also taxed 5 percent GST, bringing a total of 24.73 percent in taxes per litre. So, if the NDP are re-elected, you will be paying nearly 30 cents per litre just in carbon tax. The price of food, and every other commodity, will also go up because those transportation costs will have gone up as well.

By eliminating the carbon tax, a single mother with two children will save $400 a year and save a mom and a dad with a minivan and a pickup truck in excess of $1,800 over the next four years – in gas alone. According to economists, 70% of families would receive tax cuts ranging from $25 to $1,150 with the carbon tax gone. The average small or medium-sized business would also save $4,500 a year in carbon taxes currently applied to natural gas, gasoline, and diesel.

The economic recession is getting worse

At least 100,000 petroleum jobs have been lost in Calgary alone, and they continue. This doesn’t include every other economic sector that relies on the strength and viability of the energy industry. The unemployment figures don’t account for people who have tapped out Employment Insurance or are by default retired as they’ll never have a chance to re-enter the workforce. The oil and gas heartland of downtown Calgary has a vacancy rate pushing 40 percent.

Trendy neighbourhoods suffer the same as local entrepreneurs and businesses go under. Over the span of two recent months, the 17th Avenue SW district lost 29 businesses. Kensington has lost 15 of 274 businesses since Christmas.

Because of the carbon tax, the City of Calgary lost an estimated $250 million in commercial property taxes in 2018 and Council has shifted the tax shortfall to homeowners to cover the difference; cutting a bloated bureaucracy is somehow never an option.

Stokes Economics estimates the economic benefit of eliminating the carbon tax versus a $50 carbon tax by 2024 results in higher nominal and real GDP, an increase in plant and equipment investment, 6,000 more jobs, and $1.9 billion more in retail sales by 2024. 

There are no new jobs coming to save Albertans

There are more unemployed Albertans today than when the NDP took office, and the province has the highest unemployment rate outside of the Atlantic. The NDP claim new jobs have been created in the province, but this is primarily because Notley continues to expand the size of the government’s bureaucracy, a dream for her husband Lou Arab, who is a Communications Representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and an NDP campaign strategist.

This is a clear conflict of interest, as described by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): “Conflict of interest occurs when an individual or a corporation (either private or governmental) is in a position to exploit his or their own professional or official capacity in some way for personal or corporate benefit.” In other words, a conflict of interest exists when someone could abuse his or her official position for private gain. In this ongoing climate of economic falter, uncertainty, and no job security, are we all going to end up working for a union?

In their 2018 Vote Prosperity report, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce found that corporate tax increases along with the provincial carbon tax and costlier environmental regulations have resulted in weak job growth, layoffs, and the highest unemployment rate outside of Atlantic Canada. One estimate indicates the carbon tax increased costs on restaurants and hospitality businesses by over $36,000 annually and new labour regulations could cost an additional $11,000 on a single statutory holiday. Additionally, 73% of businesses indicated their costs will increase due to the carbon levy, while only 21% of those businesses believe they will be able raise their prices to compensate. 

We can’t afford another NDP government

You are not alone; two-thirds of Albertans have continually opposed the carbon tax.

The NDP platform offers no credible plan to get Albertans back to work, grow the economy, and reign in out-of-control finances after four years of their mismanagement. As result, Alberta is on track for $95 billion in debt by 2023. This is the equivalent of 1,185,588 nurses; 1,202,973 teachers; 4,834 schools; and 72 hospitals.

Millennials do not have reason for greater hope for their future under an NDP government. The painful consequences of unemployment across multiple generations of Albertans, from all job markets, are depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide. Millennials need a government that protects our futures instead of hobbling us with more and more debt, into a hole we can never dig ourselves out of.

Rachel Notley's Sales Tax

Unveiled as part of her election campaign platform, Rachel Notley proclaims her government will have a balanced budget in 2023-24. Aside from the assumption that this would be the first year in a third NDP term of government, a balanced budget includes all sorts of spending promises. How the NDP will accomplish both a balanced budget and increased spending remains their dirty secret.

During the 2015 provincial election that brought the NDP to power, not once did Notley announce she would introduce a carbon tax if her party formed government. Once elected – albeit accidentally – her NDP government introduced a carbon tax and then spent $9 million in ads justifying it to Albertans. It is the single largest tax hike in Alberta history, implemented without a public mandate and in violation of the Alberta Taxpayer Protection Act, which requires a referendum before a sales tax can be introduced.

In their 2018 budget, the NDP revealed that as they increase the rate by 67%, there will be no additional ‘green’ spending, and no increase in the rebates. It had a budget estimate of bringing in $1.34 billion in 2018-19. This is almost equal to the combined royalties on crude oil and natural gas of $1.59 billion for the same period. Oil price futures to 2024 show oil at about $61 per barrel. If Rachel Notley is serious about balancing the budget, then additional sources of tax revenue are her only option.

When the current carbon tax was introduced, it was set at $20 per tonne, increased to $30 per tonne in 2017, and planned to increase to $50 per tonne. That carbon tax is applied to all home heating, gasoline, food, clothing – essentially, everything we need and buy.

Simply increasing the carbon tax to $50 per tonne will not ensure a balanced budget, especially as NDP policies cause further destruction of Alberta’s oil and gas industry, resulting in even less royalty revenue in addition to less corporate and personal tax revenues.

Using the 2018-19 budgeted amount of $1.34 billion of carbon tax revenue, and increasing the carbon tax to $100 per tonne, the Alberta Government would take in about $4.5 billion. Four years of that tax level will bring in about $18 billion. This is a long way off from the $53 billion of tax debt the NDP has accumulated over the past four years.

Alberta Government documents show us where an NDP government is headed. A sales tax of 7-8% would increase government revenues to the point where Rachel Notley could almost balance the budget.

According to the CBC, Rachel Notley has advocated a Provincial Sales Tax.

CBC: You've spoken in the past about how we need to have a conversation about a PST.

Notley: No, no,  no — I haven't been talking about that.

CBC: Your exact quote is: "In the long term, is this a conversation we need to have? I think it is — but not right now. It needed to happen in the context of a government needing a mandate." Is this something you want Albertans talking about in the coming campaign?

Notley: No. Not at all.

Last year, Notley told the National Post “We have never outlined that $30 was where it was going to stop. People who talk about effective carbon pricing acknowledge that, as time progresses, it needs to go up.

And this is just the provincial carbon tax. A memo from the Canadian government’s Department of Finance contemplated increases on the federal portion beyond $50 per tonne: “The overall approach is to be reviewed by 2022 (referred to as the ‘five-year review’) to confirm the path forward, including continued increases in stringency in future years.” A secret memo leaked from Environment Canada estimates that for Canada to meet its climate targets, the carbon tax would need to be $300 per tonne in 2050.

If Albertans are genuinely opposed to a provincial sales tax, then the last thing they should do on Election Day is re-elect Rachel Notley and her NDP government.

Alberta energy industry’s United We Roll convoy rallies at Parliament Hill

There is deep anxiety in Canada’s western provinces over federal policies that are essentially instigating a protracted death of the energy industry. This lack of pipeline capacity has severely depressed Canadian oil prices in recent months, while some have warned that C-69 could hinder new pipeline projects from ever being proposed. The federal carbon tax is also increasing operating expenses for farmers and ranchers, where the rebate is well below what individuals and companies pay out. Many protestors represent the difficulties Albertans, in particular, face in making ends meet amid the now years-long economic depression.

For Westerners who feel history is repeating itself with a second Trudeau Prime Minister deliberately harming the country’s economic engine – the oil and gas industry – the upcoming provincial election will be pivotal should the newly created United Conservative Party, led by Jason Kenney, form government to challenge these harmful policies. Anxieties came to the surface at United We Roll rallies in Ottawa this week, where protesters targeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax, Bill C-69 energy reforms, and continued delays in building the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The United We Roll convoy is a pro-industry movement established in Alberta of protesters who are concerned about the Liberal government’s energy policies, including Bill C-69, and lack of pipeline to new markets via the coasts. The convoy began in Red Deer, Alberta on Valentine’s Day and headed for Ottawa over four days with stops for rallies along the way. More than 150 vehicles and a similar number of people gathered on Parliament’s lawn Tuesday. The protesters want the Liberal government to scrap the carbon tax and two bills that overhaul environmental assessments of energy projects and ban oil tankers from the northern coast of British Columbia. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, finance critic Pierre Poilievre, several other Tories, and People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier addressed the demonstration.

The United We Roll convoy dispersed on Wednesday to head home and convoy organizer Glen Carritt said he “absolutely” believes the prime minister and his government got the message. “If they didn’t hear this, then they’re more disconnected than I thought,” he said. Mr. Carritt said the group hopes to maintain momentum from the rally by putting forward petitions to scrap the federal carbon tax, Bill C-69, and Bill C-48, which is the oil tanker moratorium in northern B.C. He said they would work with Western Conservative MPs Bob Zimmer, Rachael Harder, Blaine Calkins and others on the petitions.

True to form for the mainstream news media, the federally funded Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) attempted to create an issue on an episode of The National by associating the convoy with Canadian Yellow Vest protestors, who are against the United Nations’ Global Migration Compact that would essentially make national borders obsolete, and claimed convoy organizers failed to denounce “racism”, which had nothing to do with the convoy or even a nearby Yellow Vest protest.

In a report released this week, the C.D. Howe Institute says capital expenditures in oil and gas, mining and electrical power fell CAD $50 billion between 2014 and 2018, down to CAD $75 billion, and warns that C-69 could further restrict such investments. “With investment in Canada’s resources sector already depressed, the federal government’s proposed Bill C-69 could further discourage investments by congesting the assessment process with wider public policy concerns and increasing political uncertainty,” the report says. In particular, the report points to a “highly subjective” standard of assessing new projects under the proposed regime.

U.S. oil giant Devon Energy announced on Wednesday that it was planning to sell the entirety of its oil assets in Canada, joining a number of other foreign energy companies that have divested of their Canadian holdings in recent years. A wave of divestments worth tens of billions of dollars, including Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips, have spread fears that foreign investors have finally turned their backs on Canada’s weakened oil sector, particularly amid low confidence in its regulatory regime.

Canada has “the most responsibly produced energy on Earth”; Albertans must vote for energy and jobs

From left to right: Chris Bloomer of CEPA, Tristan Goodman of EPAC, Tim McMillan of CAPP, Gary Mar of PSAC and Mark Scholz of CAODC.

From left to right: Chris Bloomer of CEPA, Tristan Goodman of EPAC, Tim McMillan of CAPP, Gary Mar of PSAC and Mark Scholz of CAODC.

The presidents of Canada’s top oil and gas industry associations ask Albertans to consider the importance of energy in upcoming election and say Albertans need to vote energy during the next provincial election.

At a press conference on January 30 in Calgary, the association presidents gathered to say the challenges facing their industry is putting the livelihoods of Albertans and their families at risk. While stressing a non-partisan approach, they want voters to think about energy and ask political leaders how they plan to encourage a growing and competitive oil and natural gas sector in the province.

We have some challenges here,” said Tim McMillan president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). He highlighted declining capital investment and persistent unemployment problems in the province, adding, “We must get back on track.”

McMillan went on to describe CAPP’s recently released Alberta Energy Platform document.

We put forward a vision of what we think is possible, and we put forward a series of recommendations that any government—whomever gets elected—could adopt to achieve this vision,” said McMillan of the platform which highlights priorities such as improved market access and the need for a competitive, efficient regulatory regime.

If we get it right, we think we can double investment in Alberta.”

The joint press conference included McMillan, Gary Mar, president and CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), Mark Scholz, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), Tristan Goodman, president of Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC) and Chris Bloomer, president and CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA).

The other industry leaders voiced their support for CAPP’s policy document, and echoed their concerns over the current crisis enveloping Alberta’s oil and natural gas industry.

Mark Scholz of CAODC in particular emphasized the profound impact of the current crisis on people and small businesses.

Once-proud and sustainable Alberta businesses employing thousands of Canadians across the country have suffered prolonged hardship,” said Scholz. “Families are struggling, businesses are failing, and our future prosperity is very much on the line.”

Scholz recommended that Albertans “educate yourselves on the different energy policies of the candidates in your area, and support those with a commitment to long-term solutions that position Alberta and Canada as a global energy leader.”

PSAC’s Gary Mar stressed that Canada has “the most responsibly produced energy on Earth” and has an opportunity to supply energy the world needs that is produced with higher environmental and safety standards than its competitors.

Canadian energy has a great story to tell. The reality is Canadians should be proud of what we do coast to coast,” said Mar.

The reality is that the world needs more Alberta energy,” said Tristan Goodman of EPAC while also highlighting how Alberta’s oil and natural gas revenues provide economic benefits that support things like health care and education. “It’s the actual economic engine that’s driving us forward. And right now it is in crisis.”

Chris Bloomer of CEPA noted the troubles the industry has had getting its products to market. “Fundamentally, we have an issue that is of great concern to us. We need regulatory certainty and clarity,” said Bloomer.

The five industry leaders noted that their goal is to encourage conversations among Albertans about the important role energy will play in the upcoming provincial election, adding that the business of energy is the business of every government of Alberta regardless of its political persuasion.

We know that all Albertans will be engaged in the next few months—having conversations on the doorstep, attending public forums and debates, and we have a role to help inform that discussion and what we think is possible for Alberta,” said McMillan. He also referenced the recent rallies and polls that show how concerned many Albertans have become about their energy industry.

Albertans have been leading this conversation,” said McMillan. “We have a responsibility to contribute.”


About the Author

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is the voice of Canada's upstream oil and natural gas industry. We enable the responsible growth of our industry and advocate for economic competitiveness and safe, environmentally and socially responsible performance.


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Floor-crossing MLA Sandra Jansen among 10 who won’t face the UCP

With Alberta’s provincial election fast approaching, and political circles whispering about a four-week campaign set between mid-March to mid-April, the governing New Democratic Party (NDP) have now lost ten Members of the Legislature (MLA) across the province to run as candidates, including five within Calgary.

 

Most prominent among the losses is current Calgary North West MLA and Infrastructure Minister Sandra Jansen, for whom no tears were shed when she crossed the floor from the Progressive Conservatives (PC) following their electoral defeat. The PC party had held a majority government in the province uninterrupted for over forty years since its leadership under Peter Lougheed in 1971, and Ms. Jansen bolted across the floor as the NDP formed government and PC caucus were reduced to less than a dozen.

 

Announcing she won’t run for re-election in a statement to the party, Ms. Jansen said, “Now, more than ever we need to help Rachel finish the job. And I will be doing everything in my power to ensure that happens. But after much discussion with my family, I’ve decided not to seek re-election. Let me say, this is not an easy decision. But after many years in public life, it is the right decision for me and my family.

 

Ms. Jansen also said that abandoning the PCs for the NDP in November 2016 “was one of the best decisions of my career.” She was rewarded with a cabinet position, though she cited the reason for the betrayal of her constituents as her values being in better alignment with the far-left NDP than the center-right PCs.

 

Ms. Jansen’s ego is familiar within Alberta’s political caste, having left her career in mainstream media as a television news anchor behind to join Alison Redford’s PC leadership campaign in 2011, and as a communications manager in the Premier’s Southern Office afterward. Her nomination to run in the 2012 provincial election received assistance from campaign strategist Stephen Carter, whose own reputation includes a penchant for winning at any cost, and she frequently talked about her desire to become Energy Minister during that period.

 

Polls suggest the NDP trail far behind the official opposition United Conservative Party (UCP). Their election in 2015 was accidental; individual Albertans expressed their frustration by voting for the only opposition party that boasted a full slate of candidates aside from the far-right Wildrose Party, which Albertans didn’t want to risk after the 2012 campaign. No one expected everyone else would do the same at the ballot box, resulting in an accidental NDP majority government.

 

The new UCP is a merger of the former PC and Wildrose parties, and Ms. Jansen’s challenger would have been UCP candidate Sonya Savage, who – with a Masters of Law in Environment and Energy and decades of experience in the energy sector – is pegged as a strong contender for the Energy portfolio. There is unifying, collective disappointment among the political right at missing out on the chance to enjoy what would have been Ms. Jansen’s certain defeat in the upcoming election.

 

The two-term MLA has already deleted her Twitter account, which documented her entitled attitude over the years. Fond of complaining about women’s treatment in politics at every opportunity, Ms. Jansen is an example of her own ire.  Dropping out of the race for the PC leadership in 2014 she claimed harassment saying, “I don’t believe that there has been anything moderate or pragmatic being offered or even discussed by the people intent on taking over the Progressive Conservative party. [Jim Prentice became leader and Premier] I was shocked by the bullying and the extreme views and intolerance that has characterized the PC leadership race.”

  

Other NDP MLAs who won’t be running for re-election include Calgary Varsity MLA Stephanie McLean, Calgary Acadia MLA Brandy Payne, Calgary Northern Hills MLA Jamie Kleinsteuber, and Calgary Hawkwood MLA Michael Connolly. All of these ridings are typically conservative strongholds. In the capital region, Strathcona-Sherwood Park MLA and Government Whip Estefania Cortes-Vargas said she won’t seek re-election and will instead “pursue further professional development opportunities.”

 

Calgary-East MLA Robyn Luff was kicked out of the NDP last November after complaining of internal bullying. In October 2017, Calgary Mackay Nose Hill MLA Karen McPherson left the NDP for the Alberta Party after claiming she was frustrated with the direction the government was taking. Only three ridings represented by NDP MLAs remain to be contested in Calgary: Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley in Calgary Mountain View, Finance Minister Joe Ceci in Calgary Buffalo and Anne McGrath in Calgary Varsity.


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