Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Alberta’s Finance Minister Joe Ceci adjusts his glasses as he waits to participate in an interview following meetings with his provincial and territorial counterparts in Ottawa, Monday.

Quebec premier doesn’t understand Alberta’s energy industry: Ceci

OTTAWA — Quebec’s resistance to a pipeline carrying western Canadian oil across its territory shows the provincial premier’s lack of understanding about the Alberta energy industry, the Albertan finance minister says.

Speaking ahead of a federal-provincial finance ministers’ meeting Monday in Ottawa, Joe Ceci argued Alberta has been reducing the amount of carbon in the oil it produces.

The entire national economy will benefit if Alberta can transport its oil to international markets beyond the United States, he said, insisting pipelines are the safest way to get crude to coastal ports.

Ceci’s remarks came a few days after Quebec Premier Francois Legault said there’s no “social acceptability” for a pipeline that would carry what he called “dirty energy” through his province.

“He clearly doesn’t understand what is happening in the energy sector in Alberta at this point in time,” Ceci said when asked by reporter Monday about Legault’s comment. “We have been innovators in removing carbon from the barrel — we are going to continue to be innovators … So I don’t think the premier of Quebec understands at this point that Alberta’s energy sector is leading in terms of the enhancements of the carbon molecule.”

Ceci later said: “We need to start operating as one country, as opposed to many provinces who are looking out for their own individual interests.”

TransCanada Corporation had proposed a $15.7-billion pipeline called Energy East, to carry western crude through Quebec to New Brunswick for shipment overseas — but the company abandoned the project more than a year ago, citing market changes and red tape.

Last Friday after the premiers’ meeting in Montreal, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs remained optimistic that, someday, a pipeline would be built to bring western crude oil to ports in his region.

The challenges of moving crude out of the oilpatch to foreign markets has been a major concern for Alberta.

The energy-producing province has been struggling with the economic consequences of an oil-price collapse as well as a deep discount on the price of western Canadian crude caused by transportation constraints.

With a shortage of pipeline capacity, Alberta recently announced it will buy rail cars to ship another 120,000 barrels of oil a day. The province has been seeking help from the federal government, but Ottawa has been reluctant to offer financial support.

Ceci said on Monday that he intended to continue urging his federal counterpart, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, to pitch in.

Asked about rail cars on his way into Monday’s meeting, Morneau said he believes the most important thing Ottawa can do is focus on long-term solutions such as its purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The goal is to get it expanded and carry more Alberta oil to the British Columbia coast.

“The discussion around rail is one that Alberta’s brought forward,” Morneau said. “We believe that that’s something that we should be at least listening to, but we’ve certainly not gotten in to any conclusions on where the federal government should be.”

Despite Alberta’s difficulties, numbers released Sunday show it continues to be a so-called “have” province under the federal equalization program. Equalization is designed to help poorer provincial governments provide public services that are reasonably comparable to those in other provinces.

Just Posted

Red Deer’s Dream Centre for addictions treatment is approved on appeal

Several conditions are attached to the approval

Alberta premier says energy war room will be respectful as it takes on critics

CALGARY — Alberta’s United Conservative government has opened its war room to… Continue reading

New trial ordered for Ottawa man, ex-lover convicted in grisly murder

Ontario’s top court has ordered a new trial for an Ottawa man… Continue reading

Report suggests agriculture needs changes to save climate and farmers

Farming needs to change to help save the climate and farmers themselves,… Continue reading

Police investigate after woman, two young sons found dead in east-end Montreal home

MONTREAL — Police officers who showed up at an east-end Montreal home… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Friday The Annual Old-Fashioned Country Christmas is being held Dec. 13 at… Continue reading

Alberta premier says energy war room will be respectful as it takes on critics

CALGARY — Alberta’s United Conservative government has opened its war room to… Continue reading

New trial ordered for Ottawa man, ex-lover convicted in grisly murder

Ontario’s top court has ordered a new trial for an Ottawa man… Continue reading

Report suggests agriculture needs changes to save climate and farmers

Farming needs to change to help save the climate and farmers themselves,… Continue reading

Police investigate after woman, two young sons found dead in east-end Montreal home

MONTREAL — Police officers who showed up at an east-end Montreal home… Continue reading

Liberal MPs won’t empower themselves to turf Trudeau, control caucus membership

OTTAWA — Liberal backbenchers declined Wednesday to give themselves the power to… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Carter O’Donnell on CFL and NFL radar

Just the other week, Carter O’Donnell’s phone rang. Not unusual, until he… Continue reading

Witness describes explosion from B.C. plane crash, multiple fatalities confirmed

GABRIOLA ISLAND, B.C. — A plane that one witness describes as crashing… Continue reading

Most Read