Notes from the MLA: For Canada to thrive, Alberta has to thrive

Danielle Larivee
MLA for Lesser Slave Lake

I’m proud to represent Lesser Slave Lake, where I grew up, raised my children and spent decades working in a community where oil and gas puts food on the table.

It’s no secret that Lesser Slave Lake – and our entire province – has been hit hard since we saw a drop in global oil prices in 2014. Making matters worse, decades of failure by successive federal governments has left Alberta without a pipeline to tidewater.

So when I heard about plans for a rally at the Legacy Centre in Slave Lake, I completely understood. Although a previous commitment kept me from being there, I know people are frustrated, and I’m frustrated with the federal government too. In this region, we stand together. Our communities will continue standing together.

A rally is an important opportunity. Even if you don’t work in the oil and gas sector, it’s a chance to have your voices heard. It’s a chance to stand up for jobs and Alberta’s collective future. And with Alberta’s concerns being used by some people to push hateful and racist views, it’s an important time to show that we will not let our message be drowned out.

Our premier is fighting for you. Rachel Notley has her elbows up and is ready to fight Ottawa. She’s fighting for things that will help Alberta thrive, for big changes to Bill C-69 and Bill C-48, two federal bills that will have a major impact on the future of our province.

We’ve already taken steps to make sure Alberta isn’t selling the resources we all own at bargain basement prices. By reducing oil production, our government has taken what energy CEOs have called a “difficult but necessary” decision to fix an “extraordinary situation.” This is only a temporary measure, but it has already made a massive difference. In coming months, we will be buying rail cars as an interim measure to get our oil to market. And we are gauging interest in the possibility of increasing upgrading capacity right here in the province.

Our government has also invested in diversifying our oil industry. Just this week, we saw an Alberta-built 820-tonne pipeline splitter roll through Edmonton, the biggest load to ever travel on a highway in Alberta. That’s thanks, in part, to a $2.1 billion program we created to attract local investment, to support petrochemical upgrading and an expected 15,000 jobs.

And while not every family is feeling it yet, we’re starting to see signs of recovery in Alberta. Jobs are up, our economy is growing, Alberta’s best years are yet to come and we are building our future ourselves. We will do whatever it takes to get the TMX pipeline built. And we’ll keep working hard to make sure the economic recovery is felt across Alberta, including right here in Lesser Slave Lake.

We’re grabbing the bull by the horns with a made-in-Alberta strategy to create more jobs, open new markets for our oil and gas, and make more of the energy products the world needs.

I know that people are frustrated. Our government is frustrated too. In coming weeks, I will be hosting a town hall to discuss the future of oil and gas in this province. I’ll have more to say about that in the future, but please contact my office for more information.

As a hardworking parent from a community where oil and gas puts food on the table, I will keep fighting for you. Rachel Notley and our government will fight for you too.

Why? Because we know that Alberta has to thrive for Canada to thrive.

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