‘He listened:’ Alberta’s energy minister meets with federal counterpart in Calgary

CALGARY — Alberta’s energy minister says she had a productive meeting with Canada’s newly appointed natural resources minister, but adds she hopes to see action in the near future.

Sonya Savage met with Seamus O’Regan, an MP from Newfoundland, Friday during his first official visit to Alberta.

“It was a great opportunity to explain the very real problems that Alberta is facing,” she said after the meeting. “He listened, for sure, and I believe he understood.

“In the months ahead, we’ll see whether there is action.”

In a statement, O’Regan said that the federal government shares a common goal of ensuring that the country’s natural resources, including oil and gas in Alberta, are sustainably developed and continue to be a source of well-paying jobs.

“My focus at this time is to listen and fully understand the challenges faced by this industry, and the impact those challenges are having on workers and their families,” he said.

“We remain committed to the Trans Mountain expansion, which is under construction and is already employing thousands of hardworking Canadians.”

Savage said there are other issues that need to be addressed in the near future.

Her priority is dealing with the CN rail strike, which she says is preventing 170,000 barrels of oil from moving out of Alberta every day.

Savage said her other concern is changing two contentious federal bills that affect the energy industry.

One of those bills — C-69 — is a contentious piece of legislation overhauling the environmental assessment of major projects. Critics argue it will further strangle natural resources development in red tape.

O’Regan said in his statement that he looks forward to ongoing conversations about how to best implement the new review process.

The federal Conservative’s natural resources critic, Shannon Stubbs, said legislative changes are needed.

“If Prime Minister (Justin) Trudeau is to walk the talk on listening to Western Canada and working collaboratively with the premiers, the first step is to scrap Bill C-69 and use the 187 Senate amendments nine out of ten premiers and all territorial leaders asked for as the blueprint to replace it,” she said in a statement.

The Canadian Press

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