25/09/2020

Premier Jason Kenney took a victory lap following Thursday’s Supreme Court decision and predicted that 2020 would be “a great turnaround year for Alberta,” in a speech to investor…

Premier Jason Kenney took a victory lap following Thursday’s Supreme Court decision and predicted that 2020 would be “a great turnaround year for Alberta,” in a speech to investors at the Annual Winter Energy Conference Friday.
“Yesterday we won a critically important victory,” said Kenney, referring to the top courts decision to reject the B.C government’s move to regulate the flow of heavy oil across its borders on Thursday — one of the last major court challenges to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
The decision unanimously endorsed the idea that the federal government has exclusive regulatory jurisdiction over interprovincial infrastructure like pipelines, said Kenney.
His speech offered an optimistic forecast for the oil and gas sector in Alberta and outlined a larger effort aimed at boosting investor confidence abroad. The government has made it an imperative to tell “the fact-based story” of Alberta to capital markets on environmental, social and good governance standards, he said.
“The instability and conflict in the Middle East underscores a deeper truth, which is this: as long as the world needs this kind of energy, which it will for decades to come, would the world prefer that it be sourced from a conflict region with the worst human rights and governance records on Earth, with no transparency on their environmental performance? Or would the world prefer that that energy come from this liberal democracy with the highest labour, human rights and environmental standards on Earth?”
He also criticized politically influential environmental groups, now shifting their resources towards swaying foreign investors, as “dishonest,” he said.
The premier listed several other energy infrastructure projects for which investors could be optimistic, including the commissioning of Enbridge’s Line 3 and the pre-construction of Keystone XL in the US. Kenney expressed confidence in the much-criticized $30 million-per-year-Canadian Energy Centre, also known as the War Room, to help influence public opinion.
Opposition energy and natural gas critic Irfan Sabir said that he hoped the Supreme Court decision would bring Trans Mountain one step closer to being built, but that these developments should be credited to “the leadership of then-premier Rachel Notley.”
Meanwhile, cutting the corporate tax rate to its current 10 per cent rate has not created the jobs or attracted the investment Kenney promised, said Sabir in a Friday interview.
The latest Statistics Canada numbers show Alberta employment stayed flat between December 2018 and 2019, and the number of full-time jobs in the province fell by 20,000 during 2019, with part-time jobs up by 16,000.
The UCP government needs to start making a better argument, Sabir said.
“We can all agree that we need do something about (climate change). We worked on climate change issues, Indigenous issues, and that was the reason we were able to move this (Trans Mountain) project forward.”
The Canadian Energy Centre isn’t helping, he said.
“It’s wasting $82,000 per day of taxpayer money and hasn’t created anything but ridicule. It’s only created a new platform for opponents of the oil and gas industry.”
The invitation-only event, hosted by Calgary-based investment firm Peters & Co., was held in Lake Louise.
lijohnson@postmedia.com
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