Oil-rich Alberta needs Canada’s support to help it grow, province says

Oil-rich Alberta’s success is not only a boon for the western economy, but can help boost all of Canada, and that’s why Canadians need to support the province’s energy expansion plans, says Finance Minister Ron Liepert.

Alberta Minister of Health Ron Liepert

Alberta Minister of Health Ron Liepert

TORONTO — Oil-rich Alberta’s success is not only a boon for the western economy, but can help boost all of Canada, and that’s why Canadians need to support the province’s energy expansion plans, says Finance Minister Ron Liepert.

In a speech to a Toronto business group Wednesday, Liepert asked that Ontario and other provinces back the oilsands and help Alberta gain access to new markets with a new national energy strategy.

“We must earn the social licence from Canadians to expand and produce this energy,” he said. “There’s too much at stake not to.”

Liepert’s message is the same one delivered to Bay Street by his boss — Conservative Premier Alison Redford — a few weeks ago. Redford urged a Canada-wide strategy to boost oilsands development and support the planned new pipelines needed to get that crude to American and U.S. refinery markets.

Much of the opposition to planned pipelines to the West Coast and bigger oilsands projects has come from environmentalists and other critics, many from outside Alberta.

Meanwhile, the latest census data showed that Canada’s population — along with economic power — is increasingly heading to Alberta and Saskatchewan as Canadians are lured West by the availability of jobs.

The results released last week show that for the first time, more Canadians now live west of Ontario than east of the province — 30.7 per cent compared to 30.6 per cent. Yukon had the biggest growth spurt at 11.6 per cent between 2006 and 2011, followed by Alberta at 10.8 per cent, nearly double the national average.

But supporting Alberta’s plans, he argued, would benefit all of Canada because one-third of the economic activity created by the oilsands occurs outside of Alberta.

Liepert noted that more than 23 per cent of oilsands-related jobs are outside the province and Ontario’s manufacturing sector will benefit as it supplies everything from steel pipes to construction materials, precision machinery and other products to oilsands companies.

The greatest risk to Alberta’s booming economy by 2020 is regulatory red tape that could prevent its oil from being shipped to new markets, Liepert said.

He argues that allowing new pipeline projects to ship oil to Asia would deliver huge benefits to the entire country.

The holdup of TransCanada Corp.’s (TSX:TRP) controversial Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. over environmental concerns “shows what can happen when you rely on one customer,” he said.

“Quite frankly we need to start paying closer attention to who else wants our oil,” he said.

China, South Korea and other fast-growing Asian countries are hungry for Canadian oil and liquefied natural gas and want to see pipelines built to the West Coast so tankers can carry the energy across the Pacific.

“No market is more important these days than Asia. Diversifying of our markets to Asia is fundamental to our country’s national interest.”

That’s why the Alberta government is supporting Enbridge’s (TSX:ENB) Northern Gateway Project across northern B.C. to Prince Rupert and U,S, pipeline giant Kinder Morgan’s expansion plans to the port of Vancouver.

“Both will deliver huge tax, economic and social benefits to the entire country,” he argued.

He dismissed the protests over the Keystone expansion as “noise” coming from “environmental extremists” and celebrities.

“We are also dealing with policies being developed by far away governments who’s goals may be noble, but who rely on exaggerated or just plain wrong information from environmental groups,” he said.

Meanwhile, Liepert also reiterated Alberta’s stance that Canada needs a cohesive national energy strategy.

“Currently, all of the provinces and territories have their own rules and regulations for energy development which makes large-scale projects cumbersome,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta had 1,571 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta’s central zone now has 1,101 active COVID-19 cases

Provincial death toll has risen by nine

Dustin Mitchell (Coats) is wanted by police in relation to a homicide this past Wednesday. (Photo contributed by Red Deer RCMP)
Red Deer RCMP looking for man in relation to homicide

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Red Deer man in… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre speaks during a news conference Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 in Ottawa. Poilievre says building up the Canadian economy post-pandemic can't be achieved without a massive overhaul of the tax system and regulatory regime. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Conservatives attack Trudeau’s ‘reset’ but they have ideas for their own

‘We don’t need subsidized corporate welfare schemes that rely on endless bailouts from the taxpayer’

In this undated photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Moderna chairman says Canada near head of line for 20 million vaccine doses

Trudeau created a firestorm when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated

There were 47 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta Tuesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
Spread of COVID-19 in Brampton, Ont., linked to systemic factors, experts say

‘We’re tired. We’re numb. We’re overworked. We’re frustrated, because it’s not our rules’

The courthouse in Iqaluit is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Three Nunavut judges, including the chief justice, are at odds over whether prison conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic should be considered when sentencing offenders in the territory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter
Nunavut judges disagree on how to sentence offenders during pandemic

IQALUIT — Three Nunavut judges, including the territory’s chief justice, are at… Continue reading

A corrections officer opens the door to a cell in the segregation unit at the federal Fraser Valley Institution for Women during a media tour, in Abbotsford, B.C., Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Independent reviews of the hundreds of inmates placed in segregation over the past year found only a handful were inappropriate, new government data indicate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Few federal inmates moved from solitary after external reviews, new data show

‘There can be rare cases where the removal may not be immediate’

A couple embrace during a ceremony to mark the end of a makeshift memorial for victims of the Toronto van attack, at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. in Toronto on Sunday, June 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
‘I’ve been spared a lot,’ van attack survivor says as she watches trial alone

Court has set up a private room for victims and families of those killed in the Toronto van attack

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Most Read