Lost oil revenue has topped $9 billion since August, says provincial cabinet minister Deron Bilous.
“We are losing on average $80 million per day. That’s been going on since Aug. 24, when the Federal Court of Appeal put that huge road block on the TMX (Trans Mountain pipeline expansion),” said Bilous, who spoke at the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday.
“We’ve basically been subsidizing the U.S.
“These are the projects that build hospitals and schools and roads and we need these types of investments. We recognize it’s been an incredible blow to every family across this province, and quite frankly, families across this country.
“We won’t stop until the Trans Mountain is built.”
Bilous, minister of economic development and trade, said part of the reason the NDP is confident the pipeline will be expanded is because support is growing among Canadians.
“In 2016, there were four in 10 Canadians that supported the TMX. We are now up to over seven in 10 Canadians support the pipeline.”
He said the province has approached the issue on different fronts: by temporarily curtailing oil production — which had an immediate impact on the price Alberta oil fetches — and committing to purchase 7,000 rail cars for shipping.
“We know that the TMX will have a significant impact on the differential. But at the same time, it’s not the only silver bullet, and so we are actively engaging with different groups on a number of different ideas, because quite frankly, we understand that we need pipelines in all directions.”
Bilous also detailed how the province has focused on diversification in the energy industry and the provincial economy.
When asked what the province was doing to ease tensions between Canada and China, he said Alberta has international offices in China and discussions are continuing with the Chinese.
“We’re doing our part in the relationship. But because of the situation, we’re to an extent following the federal government’s lead,” Bilous said.
China is Alberta’s second largest trading partner and now the province is caught in the middle, he said.