Legislative Report (21 February 2007)

Standing Up for the Energy Sector

Saskatchewan’s natural resources are an important part of a long-term growth strategy for this province. Last year alone, the government received approximately one billion dollars from oil and natural gas revenues. That’s why it’s so disheartening to see federal NDP and Liberals taking pot shots at the energy sector.

During a speech in Edmonton, Liberal leader Stephane Dion insulted individuals working in the oil industry. He said they are “living too fast for the easy money in the north”. (Electricians, welders, engineers, service workers and others are still waiting for an apology). The Liberal's Natural Resources critic has discussed either stopping oilsands development or nationalizing Alberta’s oil sands. Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton isn’t any better. He recently called for a moratorium on all future oil sands development.

Comments like these are not only ill-informed, they will hurt the progress of similar projects in Saskatchewan. Early estimates indicate the Saskatchewan oil sands reserves are up to 60 billion barrels. The Saskatchewan Party believes that Saskatchewan’s natural resources can be developed in an environmentally responsible way. However, it will take the cooperation of federal government, other western provinces and true leadership in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall called on both Dion and Layton to commit to working with Saskatchewan on sustainable development of both the oil sands and conventional oil and gas resources. He wrote to both expressing his concern over their comments and is worried that Saskatchewan’s oil sands opportunity could be lost before it begins.

Why aren’t NDP premier Lorne Calvert and provincial Liberal leader David Karwacki standing up for Saskatchewan? That’s a good question. Both have sat back in silence while their federal counterparts take potshots that will harm Saskatchewan’s energy sector. It seems they are more concerned about not poking their federal leaders in the eye than they are looking out for what’s best for this province.

The NDP government should be standing up for Saskatchewan people and Saskatchewan interests. Unfortunately, this is just another example of NDP Premier Lorne Calvert being out of touch with both.

If you have a question about this report or any other matter, just Contact Lyle.

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