Commentary – Fight back for Alberta’s oil

Mac Olsen

The year 2018 wasn’t kind to Alberta’s petroleum industry. It struggled with hardships like a decline in the price of oil, as well as political and legal shenanigans.

I hoped the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to Burnaby, B.C. would have started but that province’s NDP Premier, John Horgan, and the global warming disciples are still battling in court to stop the project.

The Federal Court of Canada ruled against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, citing insufficient consultation with First Nations groups.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government would buy the project from TransCanada Corporation if the company’s May 31, 2018 deadline to begin construction wasn’t met. So, he bought Trans Mountain, the existing pipeline and the expansion project – and taxpayers became the owners instead of a privately-run corporation.

But afterwards, not a peep out of his government until Dec. 18, when it announced $1.6 billion in assistance to Alberta’s petroleum industry, due to the declining price of oil.

Oh, how generous of Trudeau “giving” $1.6 billion to Alberta, but it’s too little. The damage is done, due to Trudeau’s vacillation.

Although Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley has proposed cutting oil production to stabilize the price, her proposal to buy more rail cars is a half measure. The provincial government would buy those rail cars to increase exports by 120,000 barrels per day, but they won’t be available until the fall of 2019.

I agree with UCP Leader Jason Kenney we can’t wait that long.

“I’ve met industry leaders that are talking in the range, collectively, that there could be tens of thousands of layoffs in the first quarter of 2019, long before any government can add rail capacity,” he was quoted by Global News.

A solution he proposed was to work with the government to fast-track a new law that would order companies to implement a 10 per cent cut in production. Kenney says, reductions to the output would bring Alberta’s oil markets “back into balance” the Global News report added.

We can also look at the shelved Energy East pipeline project. The global warming disciples and the former mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, fought vehemently against it. Coderre was critical that the project didn’t respect the city’s urban plan and endangered wetlands, as per a report by the Montreal Gazette in 2015.

However, I laugh at Coderre’s criticism, especially because that city dumped eight billion liters of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River over a one-week period in November 2015. He said it was done in a “responsible manner.”

So, it was OK for him to damage the St. Lawrence River with his municipality’s raw sewage. But it wasn’t OK to build a pipeline to the Maritimes that would have met strict federal regulation and consultation requirements.

What a hypocrite!

Yet, there is hope, such as the pro-petroleum marches in Grande Prairie on Dec. 16 and Calgary on Dec. 17. Thousands of people marched to support a beleaguered industry that supports them and their families.

In 2019, let’s make Andrew Scheer the next prime minister and Jason Kenney our new premier. They will stand up for Alberta’s petroleum industry, not just for this province but for all of Canada.

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