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Notley slams feds, Alberta government’s reaction over ‘just transition’ bill

Rachel Notley speaks at a news conference in Calgary, Jan. 18, 2023. Global News

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley broke her silence on not-yet-tabled legislation that has been a hot topic for Premier Danielle Smith over the last few weeks.

“It is very clear to me that the provincial government is asleep at the wheel and has not been doing its job,” she said. “Jaw-dropping levels of incompetence,” said Notley at a news conference in Calgary on Wednesday morning.

The federal government’s Just Transition — also known as Sustainable Jobs — bill has yet to be tabled in Ottawa, but has been a project in the making since 2021. The intent of the bill, according to the feds, is to help provinces transition workers into jobs that support a more sustainable energy economy.

Smith has gone after the bill with a vengeance, saying the language of “just transition” is a “social justice” term and insinuates that Ottawa is planning on stripping Alberta of hundreds of thousands of jobs in its most abundant industry.

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“There are two things that are troubling me: we have a document that, by its own admission, is talking about making changes that will have significant disruption to a sector that employs hundreds of thousands of people, the majority of whom are in Alberta,” Notley said.

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“Then we have a premier who is leading a government who has been in complete and utter chaos for months, if not years, and that has really failed to demonstrate any level of competence. And it’s not appropriate, in my mind, that this conversation is happening in Ottawa, in the House of Commons, without Albertans being fully engaged in that conversation.”

Notley said she herself doesn’t know enough about the legislation, and that is troubling to her not just as a politician, but as an Albertan.

She said it’s clear there hasn’t been a rigorous conversation between Alberta and Ottawa, and she blames both the provincial and federal governments for that.

Her real concern is not enough is known about this bill that would drastically change the lives of so many Albertans and the economy. Notley said the federal government seems poised to go ahead with it anyways while the provincial government hasn’t done enough to engage Ottawa.

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In regards to what the legislation is proposing, Notley said “you cannot pitch action on climate change and action to reduce emissions against economic growth. If you do that, you will fail on both.”

“I believe there is a path available to us as Albertans and as Canadians to significantly reduce our emissions, to even ultimately find a cap which is practical, and to do so that actually creates economic opportunity and protects and grows good, long-term, industrial, blue-collar jobs.”

She added that the current provincial government is “lost in chaos” and hasn’t “delivered or displayed the competence to find that path.”

The federal government plans to put forth the bill in early 2023.

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