The loonie is tanking. The once-reliable prosperity in the oil sector is drying up as the price of crude plummets. The governor of the Bank of Canada says it’s not going to get better anytime soon, and nowhere are the cold winds of the economic downturn blowing more harshly than in Alberta.
Canada’s top energy-producing province has seen major job losses, acknowledges Alberta’s premier, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to back down on climate change.
In a conversation with The West Block’s Tom Clark, NDP premier Rachel Notley said her government will push forward with an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction agenda in the coming year.
“It’s going to inject money into priority areas that have the capacity to build and to grow right now in the economy,” Notley explained.
“There’s a number of different mechanisms within our climate change policy that will actually contribute to economic development and allow for other areas to diversify and to develop in the absence of, or in the slowdown in, the energy sector.”
In a general sense, Notley told Clark, her government must “recalibrate” its plan for the province, taking a measured approach in terms of upcoming initiatives, investing in renewable energy technologies, pushing for diversified access to international markets (“Of course, what I’m really talking about is pipelines”) encouraging innovation and trying not to rock the boat more than necessary.
“And then (do) whatever we can do to generate economic activity and support to regular Alberta families,” she said.
“And as has been stated by others, we don’t control the price of oil. What we can do is work in partnership with Albertans, with Alberta job creators, with Alberta business people, with Alberta workers to try and come through this downtime together in a way that doesn’t cause the kind of damage that we’re still paying for a decade or two decades from now.”
Notley reiterated that her government will be unveiling a new Royalty Review that could shift how much energy companies must pay the government in royalties. Notley promised the review would be “responsive” to the current economic climate.
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