MLA Mark Smith, Drayton Valley- Devon. File photo.

MLA Mark Smith, Drayton Valley- Devon. File photo.

Mark Smith: The Importance of Alberta’s Energy Sector

MLA Mark Smith

The Importance of Alberta’s Energy Sector

As Albertans, we truly understand how important the energy sector is to the economic success of our province and here in the riding of Drayton Valley-Devon, our local economy literally depends on oil and gas investments and business. Our hard work as a province also plays a significant role in the overall GDP of Canada. Energy is the largest sub sector of our country’s economy, accounting for $221 billion, or 10.6 per cent of nominal GDP in 2018. Our local industries are crucial to Canada, which makes the continuous political backhanding from Ottawa all the more frustrating.

These last few years have been difficult and our local economy has been hard hit for a variety of reasons, however time and time again we have seen a complete lack of response from our leaders in the federal government. Far from sympathy, we’ve in fact been handed down countless legislation that not only imposes, but inhibits Canada’s resource industry. Bill C-69, a total ban on tanker ship access along B.C.’s coast, directly prevents Alberta from ever successfully exporting oil west through the Pacific Ocean. Our oil and gas works have seen layoffs by the thousands but when an Ontario manufacturer went under, federal bailouts were immediately onhand. While Alberta businesses create thousands of jobs and contribute billions to Ontario’s GDP and markets, continued gestures like this from our Liberal counterparts have ensured that our local businesses will see fewer investment opportunities and less work for local citizens.

The good news is, despite these impediments, Albertans, and our oil and gas sector continue to make huge strides in technology and scientific advancement. Since 2000, Oil Sands emissions have decreased by 28 per cent. We are also at the absolute forefront of methane emissions reduction. An Alberta startup recently started earning international attention by helping limit methane production through a small air compressor that runs off a hybrid natural gas/solar generator. Methane, a gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, is part of the natural gas extraction process and accounted for 13 per cent of Canada’s total GHG emissions with 43 per cent of that coming from oil and gas sectors. There is no question that Canadian resource extraction maintains the most ethically produced and environmentally sourced practices in the world. Recently approved projects like LNG are already having a positive impact on local economies and oil sands producers have spent $13 billion in collaboration with Indigenous-owned businesses since 2012, including a record $2.1 billion in 2018. These types of large scale investments distribute money across various industries and communities and are helping families across Alberta get back on their feet.

While 2020 has been difficult, and Alberta hasn’t always received the support it deserves, our province continues to develop, grow and succeed, in no small part to the incredible individuals who call our province home.

-MLA Mark Smith