By Trevor Busch
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month, Premier Danielle Smith invited Ottawa to collaborate with Alberta on carbon capture and storage and put a halt to an oil and gas emissions cap.
Targeting the federal government’s Just Transition legislation, Smith volunteered a “more productive alternative” by attracting more workers to the energy sector while reducing emissions.
“I hope that they are willing to seriously look at our intent, our intent is to work within Confederation. And we’ve been very clear on that,” said Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter, who went on to reference the UCP’s sovereignty legislation. “The premier has obviously passed our act that is going to help the federal government realize that they have their lane, we have our lane, and we hope that they will respect that. So that was a bit of a fight, there’s no doubt about it. But at the end of the day, they have their jurisdiction, we have ours, and we think that working together will be far better than fighting on a regular basis. So this Just Transition is not going to be helpful for Alberta or Saskatchewan. And we’re quite concerned about it. So it makes sense that Premier Smith would reach out, that she would provide the olive branch to say ‘here’s how we get to where we all need to get to’. And this is what compromise looks like, let’s work together.”
Smith asked the Liberals to work together with Alberta on a carbon capture and storage incentive program by coordinating a federal income tax credit with an expansion of the current Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) to include these kinds of projects.
While willing to work together, Smith dug in her heels with a caveat that “the federal government refrain from introducing any new federal legislation or policies that materially impact Alberta’s oil and gas resource development, management or workforce participation without the full involvement, consultation and consent of Alberta.”
Hunter didn’t pull punches in laying down his interpretation of how damaging the federal government’s Just Transition plan will be for Alberta’s oil and gas sector.
“I think it is very damaging. And oil and gas plays a substantial role in our economy. And the idea that you can tell people we’re going to transition you off, it just strikes me as a very ignorant way of approaching something. Each of us make a decision about where we want to work and why we’re working there, and the wages and what it can do for our families and provide for our families. And it’s interesting that the prime minister would think that he can just say, ‘Oh, we’re going to transition you off to something else’. For me, it smacks of arrogance.”
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