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Ottawa in UCP crosshairs over oil and gas sector

Posted on June 22, 2023 by Taber Times

By Trevor Busch
Taber Times

With another majority election win under their belt, the United Conservative Party was riding high last month.

But while pundits continue to discuss the fallout and the NDP conduct a post-mortem of their failed campaign, the hard business of effective governance begins. 

In the days following the election, Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter was busy taking down signs and wrapping up his campaign office.

“And just doing a bit of relaxing, spending a bit of time with family,” said Hunter, who has also been taking time to lend assistance to an ailing family member. “But other than that, just trying to take it easy. When you first get elected, you have an orientation by the Legislative Assembly offices, get to meet other MLAs and other new MLAs and talk to them and do a bit of mentoring and helping them to see their way around.”

With a renewed mandate in the legislature but a shrunken majority, Hunter says the UCP is here to listen to all Albertans but wasn’t giving away too many details about what to expect from the provincial government in the near future.

“We haven’t had those kinds of conversations yet. The best way to take a look at what we’ll be doing is take a look at our promises that we made during the election. We’ll execute those promises, we’ll finish those. And so that’s probably the best approach.” 

One approach, which is far from a state secret, will be going head-to-head in a partisan battle royale with Ottawa over its plans for transitioning the oil and gas sector.

“We’ve got a hostile federal government that’s talking about production caps, they’re talking about net zero by by 2035, when we’ve been told it was going to be 2050,” said Hunter. “And those are the things that we’re going to have to address fairly quickly to try to find out. I’ll give you an example. Resources are a provincial jurisdiction, it’s in the Constitution. And if the federal government puts production caps on our ability to use our world class oil and gas, then you’ll (see) a court challenge.”

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