Oilsands can help other parts of country if developed safer, faster: economic leader

All of Canada should be working to develop Alberta oilsands because the trillions of dollars it can generate can go to help other areas of the country, says an economic leader.

EDMONTON — All of Canada should be working to develop Alberta oilsands because the trillions of dollars it can generate can go to help other areas of the country, says an economic leader.

Brad Ferguson, president and CEO of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, says northern Alberta could contribute $2.1 trillion to the Canadian economy over the next twenty years, or $105 billion dollars a year.

“It’s an enormous number,” Ferguson said Tuesday at the group’s annual address.

“It’s a lot of zeros, and it creates a lot of tax dollars. That’s why we need to move it from a city imperative to a national imperative because if we don’t extract the value out of the oilsands, the entire country actually gets harmed through the process.”

Ferguson has issued a call to action to find ways to make development of the oilsands cleaner, greener, safer, faster and cheaper, as the rest of the world is demanding.

It’s such a big job, all of Canada should be getting in on it, he added.

“If we use it to activate other parts of the country, everything from other universities and the research that’s going on there, or the excess capacity that’s going on in Trois-Rivieres or Hamilton or Oshawa right now, how do we use what we have here to activate the rest of the country?”

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson agreed.

“If we really want to thrive, if we really want to lead and have a great strong economy into the future, it has to innovate and it has to be around, ‘How do you make things greener? How do you use less energy?’ How do you use less water, so I think it’s the right call to action,” he said.

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