Mr. Fraser: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister visited Calgary last week, and as far as the energy industry is concerned, he rode in on a lame horse with empty hands. There was no support for a struggling industry that is so important to our province and this country. It’s time for Alberta to take steps as a province to address the price differential directly, not wait for federal help that may never come. To the Deputy Premier: will your government take steps to curtail production and address this huge discount our oil is currently selling for?

The Speaker: The hon. Deputy Premier.

Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker and to the member for the important question. Our Premier said and I will reiterate: nothing is off the table. That’s why we’ve created our special envoy. That’s why we are making sure that we are working to address the differential, addressing access to various markets, including considerations around that. Of course, we continue to push forward for a Canadian pipeline to Canadian tidewater to get a fair value for all Canadians, something that would solve an $80-million-a-day gap in federal revenues. This is something that is of national importance. The differential is certainly one piece of it, and we are absolutely working to make sure we get full value for all Canadians for this resource, that we are all owners of.

Mr. Fraser: The federal Minister of Finance said in an interview on Sunday that they would not be supporting Alberta’s request for more rail cars to transport oil. Morneau said that it wasn’t a consideration because it would take nine months to get going even. Premier, we can’t afford nine months of cheap oil. We need to take action now. If not curtailment, what action does your government actually intend to do today?

The Speaker: The Deputy Premier.

Ms Hoffman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I said in a previous answer, we are committed to fixing the differential. There are certainly a number of different tools in our ability to do that. We have a special envoy that we need to entrust – they were named about a week ago – that we have doing that work, reporting directly back to our Premier and making sure that they’re continuing to move forward on making sure that we close that gap. That should have been addressed decades ago, but we certainly are at the table working to make that happen because of this Premier and this government. We’re also working to increase our takeaway capacity, getting pipelines built to Canadian tidewater, growing upgrading right here in Alberta, all things that owners should do when they own a resource, and owners are . . .

The Speaker: Second supplemental.

Mr. Fraser: Our hearts go out to the workers in Oshawa who just lost their jobs, but let’s be very clear. Alberta has been dealing with substantially more job losses in oil and gas and may lose more now because of low oil prices. It’s imperative that our energy industry and the workers who have lost their jobs remain a top national priority. To the Premier: what are you doing to ensure that the crisis in our energy industry remains a top priority for all levels of government?

The Speaker: The Deputy Premier.

Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. One of the things our Premier did was create a very talented special envoy because she knows it’s important to have the best negotiator, the best talent at the table fighting for Albertans every single day, and that’s what we’ve done. That’s another reason why our Premier will be in Ottawa later this week, because she is speaking to people who are impacted. Everyone is impacted by this impact of the differential and by the lack of access to international markets. The best way to fix that, of course, is ensuring that we have our pipeline to tidewater, but she won’t back down on any of the other options that are available at her disposal, and I am so proud to be a part of her team.

 


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