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Bob Layton: The Alberta advantage

Bob Layton Editorial: The Alberta advantage

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion announcement sure caught some by surprise.

READ MORE: Pipe for Trans Mountain expansion project to be in the ground before Christmas: CEO

I got emails asking, “Bob, what changed? Was there a B.C. court ruling we didn’t hear about? Is there nothing else waiting to stop the pipeline? Is it a new enthusiastic minister of resources or political posturing?”

The president and CEO of Trans Mountain, Ian Anderson, says the company made some changes reflecting local interests. Among other things, it has more support from indigenous communities.

READ MORE: Western Canada Indigenous group hoping to buy stake in TMX before construction starts

It still expects activist protests but it has a standing injunction in B.C. it can use.

It sounds good, but the TMX alone won’t save Alberta.

We’ve still got C-48 blocking large tankers off the B.C. coast and C-69, the so-called “no more pipelines” bill.

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Even if we complete the TMX, if there are to be no more pipelines, it’s like Ottawa is telling us that while we’re allowed to eat only one potato chip, the rest of the bag stays in the cupboard.

With all the uncertainty, more and more Alberta oil workers and companies are moving to Texas where their expertise is welcomed.

READ MORE: Energy Exodus — Life in the Lone Star State for Canadians

In the ’90s, we joked about the so-called Alberta Advantage: Low taxes and high services floating on a sea of oil and gas revenues.

If something else doesn’t come along, today’s Alberta Advantage will be that from Edmonton or Calgary, you can get a non-stop flight to Houston.

READ MORE: Energy exodus — The incentives in Texas luring Canadian oil and gas companies south

Let me know what you think.