The “New” Future of Alberta under NDP
By Jason Zheng
For almost 50 years in power, the
Progressive Conservative Party (PC) in Alberta, Canada lost their power in the
government on May 2015. The leftwing New Democrat Party (NDP) gained 49 seats
to take the majority and
the Wildrose party gained 16 seats
. Alberta’s oil sands are
the largest source of U.S. oil imports. This made corporations nervous about
the two percentage tax hike to 12% if the party was elected.
Tar sands oil has been a major
economic base of Alberta, however the original PC government slashed corporate
taxes, cut government jobs and found itself in the red section. Alberta
produces about 80%
of the oil in Canada and also
Canada’s fifth largest oil producer in the world with 4.3 million barrels
The NDP premier-elect, Rachel
Notley has different plans for the future of Alberta’s oil sands. Premier
Notley agreed to negotiate
new climate policies,
increase oil and gas royalties, and quit lobbying President Obama about his
approval to the Keystone XL pipeline. These actions may put the international
relations of Canada and the United States at risk because territorially, these
oil grounds belong to the United States.
TransMountain pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia and also the proposed
Energy East pipeline to the Atlantic coast. These both projects do not need the
U.S. approval, however the oil will end up in at the U.S. refineries anyways.
The biggest hit to tar sands oil in Alberta comes from the increase of U.S. oil
productions and the low price of oil globally. I
However, those who oppose the
Notely’s ideals believe that she would face opposition by the First Nations
tribes to the west and liberal Quebecers to the east. James Conca from Forbes
stated that it may be an easier
approach for Notley to “phase out coal-fired power plants as her initial
climate policy change” because coal generates almost half of the Province’s
electricity and produces more carbon emissions than tar sands.
Many are to believe
that if coal were to be replaced by a combination of natural gas, nuclear and
renewable resources, this fit with Canada’s energy goals. Therefore the
adjustments of the pipelines is not necessary to secure the economic future for
Alberta and all of Canada.