Pipelines would not have been possible without Climate Leadership.

By Cam Westhead, MLA for Banff-Cochrane

I’m writing in response to recent letters to the editor by proponents of the radical right wing group Alberta Can’t Wait (ACW). Directly as a result of Premier Notley and the NDP governments actions to confront climate change, on Nov. 29, Prime Minister Trudeau approved Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline project and the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Clearly, ACW’s rhetoric falls flat in light of this significant announcement crediting NDP policies leading to two pipeline approvals in support of Alberta‘s energy sector.

"Let me say this definitively, we could not have approved this project without the leadership of Premier Notley and Alberta’s climate leadership plan. A plan that commits to pricing carbon and capping oil sands emissions at 100 Megatonnes per year," Trudeau said in Ottawa during the announcement.

Clearly, our made-in Alberta plan is getting results. We are proving that you don’t have to choose between jobs and the environment. We can do both. We are doing both.

Conservative politicians like Wildrose leader Brian Jean and right wing extremists like Jason Kenney both failed to take climate change and the environment seriously, creating a dead-end for Alberta families and our economy. Premier Notley and the NDP government chose a different path and have achieved what 10 years of conservatives in Alberta and Ottawa never could.

While groups like ACW and the Wildrose oppose action to confront the reality of climate change, the NDP government has positioned Alberta as the most environmentally responsible energy producing jurisdiction in the world. These actions in combination with a new pipeline to tidewater are opening up new markets for our energy products.

Complementing these pipeline approvals is a recent report on our government‘s modernized royalty framework from the University of Calgary co-authored by Jack Mintz. The report concluded that the changes we made have had a substantial impact on incentives for new investment, making it more lucrative for investors in Alberta‘s conventional oil and gas sector. Further, the modernized framework means Alberta is more competitive now than its immediate neighbours for conventional oil investment.

Our critics will attempt to diminish the significance of these accomplishments, and fought us every step of the way while we worked with quiet, determined diplomacy towards the best outcome for Alberta. Let there be no doubt, these pipelines would not have been approved by the federal government and our royalty framework would have left Alberta less competitive had we taken the approach proposed by the conservatives and groups like ACW. Previous conservative governments failed Alberta workers. They failed Alberta families. They failed industry.

These new pipeline approvals and our modernized royalty framework mean we will have access to the largest market in the world for our oil and gas resources, jobs and prosperity for Albertans and Canadians, fairer value for our energy exports, and an end to Alberta‘s energy resource landlock. None of this would have been possible without the leadership of Premier Rachel Notley, and I am proud of our government‘s achievements.

First published in the Cochrane Times, Wednesday December 7, 2016.