Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stephen Harper’s plan threatens Alberta’s control of its natural resources

During an announcement in Calgary yesterday, Stephen Harper announced his party’s intention to limit the export of bitumen, a product which makes up a significant amount of petroleum-based exports for Alberta.
It is Mr. Harper’s intention to place unprecedented restrictions on a natural resource, the control of which is guaranteed to provinces under the Canadian Constitution. The restriction of bitumen exports would also lead to a violation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), placing our trade relationship with the United States in jeopardy at a time of great economic instability.
It seems clear that Mr. Harper, without consultation with the Alberta government or other key stakeholders, is preparing to set policy that will have a significant impact on the ability of Albertans to maximize benefit from one of their own natural resources. From the short-sighted, arbitrary nature of his decision, it would appear that Mr. Harper is so confident of success in this province that he can disregard the best interests of the very people he was elected to represent.
The proposed change would effectively remove the ability of Alberta companies to market bitumen to any country that either does not meet or exceed Canadian government environmental limits on carbon emissions. At the present time, 30 per cent of the bitumen generated is sent to the United States, the only market for the unprocessed product. Given the current economic state of that country, it is critical that Alberta oil companies are able to expand their base and look to new markets for what will become an increasingly higher demand product.
If Albertans want a say in how their resources are managed – as is our right under the constitution – then they must speak up so that Mr. Harper can hear. And the best way of doing so is to elect a Member of Parliament who can ensure that they have a voice in Ottawa, and not someone who is there simply as Ottawa’s voice in their community.
I am committed to providing grassroots representation in Parliament that reflects the priorities and concerns of my constituents throughout Edmonton-Sherwood Park.
Jim

1 comment:

Jo said...

Are nafta and alberta economy more important than our environment? If people don't stop at the consumption level then the Prime Minister has to stop the consumption at the government level. Isn't that what governments are supposed to do? Take care of the best interests of the people whether we think it is doing so or not. In this case I think the best interests will be served to get people to stop using so many resources, stop the prices of alberta's resources from going up so high, and help us live healthier lives with less transporting of resources going on under our nose. Not to mention the toxins produced by the mining of our resource will be reduced if we only have to produce for our own country rather than everyone elses countries.