Oil and gas supporters rally as senate committee hears submissions on energy bills
Premier Rachel Notley spoke to a senate committee on Tuesday about two energy related bills as hundreds of people rallied outside Calgary’s Sheraton Hotel in support of Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
The Senate Transportation Committee heard submissions from Canadians on Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, and Notley was joined by three Albertans to make her presentation.
“We had a good conversation. I was pleased to be able to introduce Angela and Edward and Roger to the senate committee so they had an opportunity to see the actual humans who are impacted by something like Bill C-48 and then ultimately to just talk about what is in effect, the discriminatory nature of Bill C-48, a bill that uses a very blunt tool to achieve an objective in a way that will undermine our industry and undermine our ability to attract investment. So I’m hopeful that they got the message and certainly we will keep fighting because we need to make sure that our industry can grow while at the same time it continues to do the work it has been doing to become more sustainable and more environmentally responsible,” said Notley following the meeting.
Notley told the committee to scrap Ottawa’s west coast tanker ban legislation and send it ‘straight to the garbage bin.’
“It’s not a tanker ban, it’s an Alberta ban, and let’s stop suggesting otherwise,” she said.
She says Bill C-48 and Bill C-69, which proposes changes to the way environmental assessments on large natural resources projects are handled, need to be amended to support the industry and investment.
“At the end of the day, what we need to do is make sure that these bills do not pass in anything like their current form. That will hurt the industry, that will stifle investment and we definitely do not need that here in Alberta so whatever happens to make sure that they do not pass in their current form is good news.”
Notley says she believes she has presented a ‘pretty clear path’ for the federal government to do the right thing with respect to Bill C-69.
“There’s not one message, there’s several messages but that’s how these things are with matters like this. They need to walk out of this province understanding that all of Canada needs our industry to do well. That all of Canada needs Albertans to be getting back to work and that C-69 needs to be amended to provide certainty and clarity to investors while at the same time insuring that we do a responsible job approving these projects in a way that it accommodates community and environmental concerns and we can do that but we have to be smarter about it and we have a path forward that we have proposed and they should leave Alberta knowing that we’ve now thought about it and that we need to be listened to and what we asked for needs to be accommodated.”
Notley spoke to the committee via video conference from Calgary at the same time as energy industry supporters rallied outside.
The crowd erupted into cheers when UCP leader Jason Kenney arrived.
He addressed the crowd and called Bill-C69 an attack on Alberta’s prosperity and jurisdiction.
“It means so much that hundreds of Albertans would show up in the middle of a work day, downtown, to send a message to the senators meeting inside here right now to say that we will no longer tolerate Justin Trudeau’s attacks on this province, on this industry that has put us into a job crisis,” he said. “Our economy is three per cent smaller than it was four years ago. Bankruptcies and insolvencies are up. Families have lost their homes, people have lost their hope, small businesses are barely hanging on and in response to all of this what do we get? A bill that will be devastating to the future of the industry that has created so much wealth for Albertans and Canadians, that’s why we need to kill Bill C-69.”
Kenney says Notley’s message to the senate committee is too late and he accused the NDP of acting like it’s a priority to get re-elected.
“If Albertans elect a United Conservative government, there won’t be any more bluffing, there won’t be any more phoney fights. We actually will use all of the legal, political and fiscal tools at our disposal to stand up for Alberta jobs, for the construction of pipelines and for fairness in the federation,” he said.
Many in the crowd said they have lost jobs in the oil patch and that the bills could impact them even more.
“This is my livelihood, my family’s livelihood, I have son-in-laws, myself, my husband, we’re all in oil and gas and pipeline industry and it’s very important for our livelihood, our future,” said one woman.
“Canada has the most environmentally friendly oil and gas industry and it’s really frustrating to see it blocked and good, hard-working people out of jobs,” said another.
The hearings are taking place across the country before any amendments are made and will continue in Fort McMurray on Wednesday before moving east.