Mr. Fraser: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Official Opposition has joined with us in calling for mandatory production cuts in order to address the oil price differential. We’ve been arguing that this is the best short-term answer to depressed oil prices for weeks, but hopefully the growing consensus will convince this government to act. However, even with immediate action on the differential we are still in danger of another round of job losses because of low oil prices. To the Deputy Premier: is there a plan in place to deal with further job losses in our energy industry caused by low oil prices?

The Speaker: The hon. Deputy Premier.

Ms Hoffman: Thanks, Mr. Speaker and to the member for the question. Certainly, our priority is to make sure that every Albertan has an opportunity for full employment, fair compensation, and a good job. That’s why our Premier is in Toronto today working with the board of trade and with other job creators and employers to make sure that they know what we’re doing in Alberta to address the pressures and the impact that the drop in the price of oil and the increase in the differential have had on those types of employers and others. We’re going to keep working to make sure that we address short-, medium-, and long-term impacts of the differential, that we’re also diversifying our economy, and that we’re investing in health care and education instead of laying off 4,000 teachers and 4,000 nurses.

The Speaker: First supplemental.

Mr. Fraser: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We in the Alberta Party caucus believe that mandatory curtailment is the right response to the oil price differential, but we also know it will come with costs. Although curtailment will be a net benefit for Alberta, there will be those who lose work because of lower production. Instead of playing catch-up and helping affected workers like this government did with the coal phase-out, let’s be proactive and make sure there are supports in place for those workers. To the Deputy Premier: will you ensure that any plan for curtailment will also include measures to support affected workers?

The Speaker: The hon. Deputy Premier.

Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. We’re certainly keeping working people as top of mind as we continue to have these important discussions. That’s why we’re not flip-flopping. We’re not rushing. We’re making sure that the decisions we make are grounded in the best outcomes for Albertans. When one is in government, you know that those decisions you make or those news conferences you hold impact real people, real families, so we’re working diligently to make sure that we follow the best path to support job creators, to support working people, and to make sure that we get full value for our resources.

Mr. Fraser: With the current low price of oil every day without action could be more potential job losses. While the Premier has said that they plan to purchase more railcars, that is neither a long-term nor immediate solution. We need pipelines, but we also need immediate action from this government, not railcars that won’t be ready for over a year. To the same minister: when can we expect your government to take real, immediate action on the differential?

The Speaker: The Deputy Premier.

Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. We’ve been taking action for weeks and months. We’ve been working directly with employers and with industry. We’ve created an envoy that is engaging in important discussions and important research to make sure that we make the right decisions moving forward. We’ve acted on our lobby around Keep Canada Working 2.0, making sure that everyone in Ottawa and everyone across this country knows the impact of failing to have a pipeline, and making sure we’re investing in rail to increase the export of our product. We’ll have more to say on the differential soon.

 


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