Lloydminster – Alberta United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney attracted a sold out crowd of approximately 500 people to the opening ceremonies banquet of this year’s Lloydminster Heavy Oil Show, and he didn’t disappoint.
Kenney and federal Conservative natural resources critic Shannon Stubbs, MP for Lakeland, which includes the Alberta portion of Lloydminster, spoke to the media just prior to going on stage on Sept. 11.
At the time of the interview, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe had been saying there was a $200 million direct impact to the coffers of Saskatchewan due to the wide discount between Western Canadian Select and West Texas Intermediate (Moe has since revised that number to $300 million per year).
Asked about the impact for Alberta, Kenney said, “It’s probably at least ten times that. The energy sector in Alberta is about 10 times the size of that in Saskatchewan, in terms of revenue. So we’re talking tens of billions of dollars value that we’re losing, primarily to the United States, as we sell them oil at, on average, $35 a barrel, and they’re now selling their oil at $70 a barrel. So we’re taking something like a 50 per cent hair cut right now. According to the Toronto Dominion Bank, I think their estimate is we’re losing $50 billion a year in value to the Canadian economy.”
With regards to the now-defunct Energy East pipeline project, and the idea of reviving it, Kenney said, “My attitude is we should pursue everything. But we need to clear out the regulatory barriers. That means getting Trudeau to stop Bill C-69, stop Bill C-48. Get Energy East back on the table. Folks down east want that to happen. There are proponents looking for potential oil and gas access to Hudson Bay, first through the renewal of the rail route to Churchill, and then a pipeline. There are proposals to get a pipeline built to Juneau, Alaska. Another to Port Angeles in the United States. There are Aboriginal advocates of the Eagle Spirit Pipeline, which is basically an Aboriginal-owned Northern Gateway. How about the feds start consulting with the pro-development First Nations?
“We need not give up on Trans Mountain,” Kenney added.
“We’re calling on the feds to declare the Trans Mountain as being for the common advantage, using a special constitutional power, Section 92.10c of the constitution. I’m calling on the federal government to impose sanctions on BC for standing in the way of that. They should appeal the Federal Court of Appeal decision to the Supreme Court of Canada immediately.
“There are other possible developments, like technologies for the solidification of bitumen to allow it to move as a solid by rail, which would remove a lot of the opposition. There’s a lot of different strategies that should be all pursued.”
Stubbs said it is “shocking” that the federal government was unprepared for the Court of Appeal ruling that overturned approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion, given “they claimed for two years this is a priority for them.”
“I would say this question around energy development in Canada is the most pressing domestic economic question facing public policy makers at both levels of government right now. I’ve made it my mission over the past three years to talk about the importance of the energy sector to the entire country.
“It’s the number one private sector in the Canadian economy. It’s Canada’s second-biggest export. It makes an out-sized contribution to a variety of different sectors in all provinces. The issues, I think, around timeliness, and competitiveness and certainty and predictability for approval process so this crucial, multi-billion dollar, long-term infrastructure can actually get built in Canada. That’s our priority focus for us.”
Stubbs said that federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer would, immediately after being elected, invite Trans Canada back to the table on Energy East and establish the conditions to make it possible.