ALBERTA / The Wedge

Alberta’s Tech Frontier : Canada’s Tipping Point

Teck Frontier Oilsands site, Northern Alberta, Canada

By theWedge.LIVE

Albertans have weighed in loud and clear. They don’t want “aid” from Ottawa. It’s just not the Alberta way.

Ottawa had the temerity to offer aid to Alberta ignoring its ask for a rebate on inequitable equalization transfers out of the province. It’s a game of words it seems, but words matter. Aid always comes with strings.

Alberta said “no.” Ottawa skirted the rebate.

Meanwhile the PM continues to dance around the Teck Frontier project–the largest fossil fuel production project in Canada. It requires no funding from Ottawa; yet, every day that passes without approval, millions are lost, including jobs and tax revenue.

Oil and gas is what Alberta does. If its lifeblood is taken by political chicanery, Albertans will not go quietly into the night. Not this time.

Premier Jason Kenney is pulling out all stops to keep free market capitalism flowing in Alberta, but Teck Frontier could be his Achilles heel if it is stymied beyond reason.

Alberta’s wrath is beginning to bubble to the surface.

Days ago the PM pledged $10 million for gender equality in Ethiopia. It seems his priorities border on requiting personal fantasies.

The long and short of it is every demand was met by Teck over a period of ten years–indigenous people,  environmental and regulatory. It stands to reason the province and Teck’s investors are running out of patience.

Let’s be clear. Alberta’s health depends on this enormous project. We cannot overstate this.

If halted, it will likely be the trigger to secession.

Teck Frontier Oilsands site, Northern Alberta, Canada PHOTO BY Teck

The Minister of Environment and Parks, Jason Nixon, issued the following statement, eloquently we might add, on Alberta’s position regarding the Teck Frontier oilsands mine project:

“I want to be crystal clear. Albertans are proud people. We have never viewed our relationship with the federal government as one based on charity, and we’re not about to start now.

“Albertans want jobs, not an ‘aid package’ from Ottawa.

“Teck Frontier is not a political gift,” Jason Nixon, Min. of Environment and Parks

“Teck is not a political gift – it deserves to be approved on its merits. If the federal government takes seriously its commitment to science-driven, evidence-based decision-making, then it will accept the recommendation of the regulatory agencies and approve it. In our view, the federal cabinet’s pending decision on the independent joint review panel’s recommendation to approve Teck Frontier is in no way linked to Alberta’s ask regarding an equalization rebate (or other unrelated requests).

“The project has undergone a rigorous 10-year review, including a recommendation for approval from the independent federal regulator. Teck has played by the rules endorsed by Ottawa – including by the current federal government. To arbitrarily reject the project at the eleventh hour for political reasons would send a chilling signal to international investors.

“The Frontier project will directly employ up to 7,000 workers during construction and up to 2,500 workers during operation. An estimated $70 billion in taxes will be collected over the life of the mine, along with billions of dollars of economic activity that will ultimately spread throughout all of Alberta and Canada.

“All of the 14 directly affected First Nations have reached agreements with the company, and Frontier will provide large numbers of jobs for Indigenous Canadians. They recognize that responsible resource development can serve as a path to prosperity.

“Teck has committed to leading environmental standards for emissions, water and reclamation. The Teck Frontier project will have emissions of approximately one-half of the oilsands industry average, and lower carbon intensity than half of the oil currently refined in the United States. The company has also recently committed to going net zero by 2050.

“We do not view a decision on Frontier as something to be traded away or politicized. For us this issue goes beyond politics – Albertans want approval plain and simple.

“Prime Minister Trudeau has emphasized his desire to work with Alberta and to preserve national unity. It’s time he backed up his words with action.

“Albertans are watching closely.”

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