Calkins: Pipelines and jobs – Alberta needs both

December 6, 2016 - 4:18pm

Last week Statistics Canada released their employment numbers and the news was not good for Albertans. 

Alberta lost 13,000 full time jobs and the unemployment rate is hovering around 10%.  This is not good for the future of our province.

A ray of hope glistened through the storm clouds as well last week when the Liberals approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline project and the Line 3 project.  While neither of these projects are new pipelines they will in fact increase capacity and get our product to tide water if they are built.

The approval of these projects is good news but these projects are still a long ways away from construction.  There are many hills left to climb before we see a kilometer of pipe in the ground transporting our oil to market.  It is important the Conservative opposition, constituents, and Canadians to keep the pressure on the Trudeau Liberals to ensure these pipelines and others get built.

The Liberals came to office promising Canadians a new way, a sunny way, an evidence based approach to things like pipeline approvals.  They also promised to make the independent National Energy Board more independent.  That promise didn’t last long!

During his announcement Mr. Trudeau stated that the evidence did not support the approval of Northern Gateway.  The Liberals used the same process, and the same evidence to approve Kinder Morgan and Line 3 but they turned their back on the process and for political reasons shelved Northern Gateway.

The Liberal government has made a mockery of the National Energy Board process and their hypocrisy has reached epic levels.  Northern Gateway has the strong support of 31 First Nations groups along the route and the evidence supported an approval of the project but the Liberals and this Prime Minister politicized the decision and have now exposed taxpayers to potentially millions in compensation expenses to Northern Gateway.  Something lost in this whole process as well is by shelving Northern Gateway and forcing transportation of our oil through the Port of Vancouver the Liberals have actually caused a market diversification issue. 

The Port of Vancouver is a shallow port whereas Kitimat is a deep water port meaning larger tankers can get to the port and transport more products.  For the Port of Vancouver to compete they would have to dredge the port which will cost millions of dollars that has not been budgeted for.

We know the safest and surest way to get our oil to market is through pipelines.  The Oil and Gas sector contributed $11.5 billion in 2015 to the Canadian GDP, they are projected to inject $4 trillion dollars into the Canadian economy over the next 20 years and pay $1.2 trillion in taxes and royalties to provincial and federal governments.

At a time when Albertans are losing their jobs, homes, and life savings our government should be doing everything it can to approve these pipeline projects and get our family and friends back to work.

Please contact my Constituency office if you have any questions or concerns on any federally related matters, postage free, at: 201-5025 Parkwood Road, Blackfalds, AB T0M 0J0; tel: 587-621-0020; toll free: 1-800-665-0865 or visit my web site: www.blainecalkinsmp.ca or on twitter at www.twitter.com/blainecalkinsmp

 

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