Throne speech did not sufficiently recognize ‘crisis’ in energy sector, Kenney says

Responding to the federal government’s speech from the throne in the Senate chamber Wednesday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney criticized the policies outlined, saying they would “strangle investment and jeopardize resource jobs [in Alberta].”

“Alberta is disappointed that instead of listening to Canada’s provinces, the federal government doubled down on policies that will kill jobs, make Canada poorer and weaken national unity,” Kenney said in a statement.

In the nearly hour-long speech, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette said the government intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing home retrofits and infrastructure spending.

Tax incentives will also be introduced for companies that build zero-emissions products, and the government has also promised to meet Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Watch: Government outlines its environmental policy goals

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette delivered the 150th speech from the throne in the Senate chamber on Wednesday. 2:25

But Kenney said the speech did not include “one word” that recognized the challenges facing the energy sector, adding that the province is presently in court to fight the federal government’s carbon tax and would soon be in court to challenge Bill C-69.

“Alberta has never asked for a handout,” Kenney said. “Instead, we are merely asking for the federal government to support our province in the same way that Alberta has supported Canada for generations.

“The first thing they can do is hit the pause button on policies that unfairly and unconstitutionally target the economic engine of Canada.”

Kenney also said Ottawa should “give back” $6 billion to Alberta through changes to its fiscal stabilization program, a program that provides financial assistance to those provinces and territories experiencing significant economic declines.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks during a televised national address, also argued that Ottawa wasn’t doing enough to address western alienation.

“We must show our fellow Canadians that we value them, and respect their contributions to our country,” he said.

Industry response

In a release, the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors said that overall, the tone of the speech was positive for those in the natural resource industries.

The organization cited Payette’s pledge to continue supporting Canada’s manufacturing, energy and forestry industries.

“It was encouraging to hear the government acknowledge how important Canadian energy truly is, not only to provide good jobs, affordable energy, and a high standard of living, but also to protect and advocate for the environment both at home, and around the world,” said CAODC president and CEO Mark A. Scholz.

The organization specifically cited the extension of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy as a positive which will help struggling oil and gas companies.

More to come.

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