This May, my vote will go to the party that is looking to our future instead of our past, is willing to adapt to the social and economic ideals that are moving us forward and ensures our province will be ready for the world yet to come.
SMITH, NOTLEY CONCERNED ABOUT OTTAWA’S “JUST TRANSITION”
A plan by the federal government to transition the country to a low-carbon economy has exploded into a major election issue in Alberta, stoking fears Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are plotting to shut down the province’s oil and gas sector.
Both Alberta UCP Premier Danielle Smith and NDP leader Rachel Notley have condemned the plan, laid out in a briefing document for federal ministers. Federal legislation is anticipated in early 2023.
“‘Just transition’ isn’t about a transition at all,” Smith said. “It’s about eliminating entire sectors of our economy and hundreds of thousands of good Alberta jobs deemed too ‘dirty’ by elites in Ottawa.
“I will fight this debacle of an idea with every tool at Alberta’s disposal, and I hope other provinces will stand with us,” she said.
Notley has urged Ottawa to put the brakes on the plan until Alberta has been fully engaged.
But she also chastised the UCP government for being too consumed by internal conflict to pay attention to the long-planned strategy, a federal Liberal priority.
“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.
“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.”
According to the 81-page document, the transition to a low-carbon economy will have an uneven impact across sectors, occupations, and regions, and create significant labour market disruptions.
“We expect that larger-scale transformations will take place in agriculture (about 292,000 workers; 1.5% of Canada’s employment), energy (about 202,000 workers; 1% of Canada’s employment), manufacturing (about 193,000 workers; 1% of Canada’s employment), buildings (about 1.4 million workers; 7% of Canada’s employment) and transportation sectors (about 642,000 workers; 3% of Canada’s employment), to help meet the government’s emission reduction targets.”
Some regions, particularly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, where communities are more reliant on carbon intensive industries, will likely be disproportionally affected by the transition to a low carbon economy, the document says.
“The oil and gas sector in particular is a large contributor to the GDP of Alberta and Newfoundland, at 27.3% and 36.2% respectively, affecting about 187,000 workers in Alberta and 13,300 workers in NL, compared to less than 3% in any other province,” the document says.
The federal government said that those numbers have been misinterpreted, and that the figures referred to the overall size of the workforce of various industries, not anticipated job losses.
According to Jonathan Wilkinson, the federal natural resources minister, the plan will create so many jobs there won’t be enough workers to fill them.
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