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    MLA report January 2

    Hello Chestermere. Happy New Year! First of all I would like to give a huge shout out to the organizers of the Western Canadian Pond Hockey tournament in Chestermere. It was such a privilege to attend and give out some awards to the winners. I am so proud of our city. Did you know that The City of Chestermere Parks came out to help build and maintain the rinks? Did you also know that the organizers and sponsors were there everyday from 7 AM -7 PM to keep coffee flowing, rinks running, games playing, and skates sharpened?  To all of you who volunteered, contributed, organized and participated, you are truly amazing and thank you for making Chestermere a winter destination. Also a huge shout out to Richard who emceed the whole event!  To Lesley Plumley, and your team, John and Helen Kittler, Alex Halat and your team, Andrew Marriott and the Tim Horton’s team, the City of Chestermere, volunteers, participants and organizers. Well done to all of you!  Thank you for giving so much back to your community, and for supporting the Children’s Cottage and the Veterans food bank. Happy New Year to all and thank you for including me in this fabulous event. I am truly humbled and honoured.

    Speaking of hockey we also had the Atom Arctic Cup.  My family sponsored the “A” Pool Banner, won by the Didsbury Ramblers in a hard-fought contest with the Chestemere Lakers Atom 2.  Many thanks to the teams, the sponsors and the dozens of volunteers who made the tournament a huge success and did Chestermere proud!

    I would like to take a moment to chat yet again about equalization payments. The Quebec Premier, Mr. Legault, has reacted to the Energy East Pipeline potentially running through the Province of Quebec. He said “he doesn’t want to hear any more talk about oil pipelines crossing Quebec because the issue is no longer socially acceptable.”

    Most Quebecers disagree with Legault and do understand the level of importance of the oil industry.  This is an uninformed position that not only slaps Alberta in the face by calling our oil dirty, but this energy is critically needed globally. Quebec will receive over 13 billion dollars in equalization in the coming year, well over half of it coming from taxes paid by Albertans and our energy industries.

    Quebec takes roughly two thirds of equalization. Without oil there would be much less money available.  The Quebec Premier is guilty of astonishing hypocrisy.  Legault decided to call our incredible resources “dirty oil from the west”, so the question is, how is it that they can say no to a pipeline with so-called “dirty oil” in it but yes to the money? Is the money not also dirty?  Why the vilification of our incredible resources? I would like to go back in time a little.  I find it very interesting that Premier Notley wonders where on earth could this mentality have come from, and how could Quebec view us this way?  We can start most recently with Ms. Notley’s “envoy” that she picked to represent the oil and gas resource industry.  Brain Topp, who has a long history of hostility to Alberta’s oil industry, was her top pick (no pun intended), and to quote him “calling Alberta’s oil ‘ethical’ is akin to calling landmines ethical if they were to be built in Canada.” This is what Topp wrote in a Globe and Mail opinion piece that appeared on Dec. 11, 2011.  He is also quoted as saying “Not only has the “government of Canada become a huckster” of Canadian oil “but Mr. Harper and his ministers want us to think this is a principled thing to do — something to celebrate.”  If it were up to me, we would all do the happy dance everyday of our lives in gratitude for the incredible resources that have built this country.

    Next up, we have the infamous Tzeporah Berman.  What a mess this was, appointing an eco-activst to the Oil Sands panel, and paying her $25,000 to help destroy any chances of building pipelines.  This is the lady who called our oilsands Mordor, and rallied to keep our oil in the ground.

    A little more history that the NDP would prefer you forget.  Ms. Notley’s government had little experience with oil and gas other than protesting, and as we know were virulently opposed to Keystone XL.  There was no doubt that Obama was against it, but what was more concerning was our newly elected Premier did not stand up to him, defending us, against the President’s calling our oil “dirty”.

    She stated that she was disappointed, but that she agreed with the overall decision and his description of our oil as dirty, but would have preferred that he used different words. Hmm!  The most hilarious part is that our Premier wants us to do more upgrading.  Well that is a nice idea, but how does she plan on transporting our upgraded products, and moreover to what buyers? 

    There is more to upgrading than just that.  There are different qualities, grades and needs.  We already have enough refining capacity to meet Alberta’s needs and then some. How are we going to accommodate more refining when we are in a glut (excessive supply) with no pipelines to transport our products?  Somehow she and Minister Mason believe that we are exporting jobs to our neighbours to the south, and that is the reason for upgrading locally.  Well if there was money to be made I am pretty sure the private sector would have already invested in this, but again, how do we get this to market without a pipeline? 

    The Premier believes that our oil is dirty, and believes that we have to clean up our act to get access to global markets and earn the right to put our products in a pipeline.  So then why allow Saudi oil?  Why not fight provincially to bring our green, clean amazing products out to the east to refine and sell on the global market?  The idea of dirty oil started with her, and picked up speed across our nation.  This disastrous momentum solely lies on her shoulders.  She did not stand up for us at the Paris talks, and has attacked Albertans at every socio-economic level. 

    This Premier will go down in history as one that caused the biggest damage to an industry that built this country.  She will be held accountable for those policies that crippled our province.  To quote her after she was elected, she “sees no long-term future in fossil fuels, predicting Alberta would wean itself off dirty energy within a century.” “I don’t think we are defined by energy. Certainly in the short to medium term that is an asset that we have, so we have to look at how we develop it carefully and responsibly.”  The assumption is that we do not develop responsibly, and that is absolutely not true.  At one time we were an energy super power.  If you call Alberta oil dirty for long enough, the world will see it as dirty.  Congratulations Premier!  As always we love to hear from you!