Premier Smith Demolishes NDP In Debate On Amended Sovereignty Act In A United Canada —Here Are Her Exact Words As Spoken In The Legislature
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I hope I can get everything in in five minutes. I understand that the members opposite have been trying to derail any discussion of this bill from the beginning. They didn’t even want to read it when it was first introduced. They voted against it in first reading. Then they asked the Prime Minister to weigh in and revoke the bill, denied of course doing that.
I think they understand why it is that people reacted so, so badly in asking for the federal government to come in and interfere in our jurisdiction, because that is exactly what they and their party leader at the federal level have been enabling with the coalition they have in Ottawa for the last number of years.
I find it so remarkable that they’ve been talking about investment like capital flight, saying that it has been – they’re projecting that there would be unprecedented capital flight.
Well, that would be hard to beat because there was unprecedented capital flight when they brought through the climate leadership plan. That was once again partnering with our enemies who want to shut down our industry to try in some flawed way to get appeasement with Ottawa. I don’t know why it is they felt that they needed to suck up to Ottawa. It’s not like Ottawa is a national government.
The way our country works is that we are a federation of sovereign, independent jurisdictions. They are one of those signatories to the Constitution, and the rest of us are signatories to the Constitution and have a right to exercise our sovereign powers in our own area of jurisdiction.
The problem that we’ve seen over the last number of years – and when I talk about the loss of investment that occurred because of this failed attempt at trying to chase after federal approval.
The climate leadership plan brought in a carbon tax which – three aspects. Carbon tax, phase-out of coal, and an emissions cap.
One of the things that occurred, of course, was Northern Gateway ended up getting cancelled, cheered along by the members opposite. They never supported Northern Gateway, which would have done so much to help advance our economy.
Energy East, once again, also got shut down with no support from the opposition.
Koch Oil announced that they had two oil sands projects that they walked away from because of the uncertainty being created by the climate leadership plan.
We also had the Keephills plant, a coal plant in operation for just six months when the actions of the members opposite forced it to shut down.
We still have uncertainty in the electricity industry and in creating new generation as a result of those decisions.
I was just meeting with a group of energy leaders in the retail side yesterday, talking about how in the future, after 2035, it’s uncertain how we’re going to develop new natural gas plants because of the new requirements being brought in at the federal level. This is again a violation of our provincial jurisdiction.
And then, of course, Western Feedlots also shut down. They only reopened when the UCP formed government again.
In the year after they got elected, there were 7,200 businesses that shut down.
That’s what capital flight looks like.
It was caused by the actions of the members opposite. So, really, they should spare me any discussion about how much they care about the investment climate, because if they cared about the investment climate, they wouldn’t have started this track in the first place.
The reason this track is continuing is because of their coalition at the federal level, and this is part of the reason why they keep on trotting out Ottawa- based pundits to support their view, because this is the way they think the country ought to work, that Ottawa ought to come in and tell us how to run our own affairs.
The members on this side feel the opposite. It’s because of hit after hit after hit that we have taken as a result of the process they started.
Bill C-48, a tanker ban on the west coast that is designed strictly to land-lock Alberta’s bitumen, came in under their watch.
Bill C-69, which is an historic invasion of provincial jurisdiction – we already have a court judgment telling us so. We have 10 provinces onboard with fighting it, because they inserted themselves into every area of provincial jurisdiction when it comes to creating projects.
Any power plant more than 200 megawatts has to be approved by the federal government.
Any stretch of highway 75 kilometres long has to be approved by the federal government.
Anything that they determine is federal jurisdiction, even if it’s 100 per cent within our borders, they can intercede and tell us: sorry; you can’t build that. That is such a violation of provincial jurisdiction.
When you look at the fact that we had a equalization referendum, 62 per cent of Albertans voted in favour of pushing back against Ottawa, and I think that was only one aspect of us trying to start a conversation so that we could get a fair deal out of Ottawa after we did the Fair Deal Panel all across the province.
What did we get instead? We got environment minister Steven Guilbeault, and what has he done since he got into the position of environment minister?
Has he come with an open hand and said, “Hey, let’s work together; let’s try to find ways that we can export more LNG; let’s find ways that we can work on carbon technology; let’s find a way that we can develop the hydrogen economy; let’s work together on getting more of your resources to market”?
The exact opposite. He announced an edict that we were going to be moving to an electricity grid that does not allow for any fossil fuel based power to be on that grid after 2035.
We’ve got 90 per cent of our electricity in this province generated by natural gas, and the cost associated in this short period of time of trying to develop new power with carbon technology and carbon capture – just in such a short period of time to enable more of that development.
This is too short a time frame to be able to achieve that. What’s going to happen when we hit 2035 and they’re now telling us we can’t build power plants? When we talk about, as well they came in and said that they want to phase out combustion engine vehicles so no more can be sold after 2035. That’s only 13 years away.
What in the world do they think is going to happen?
Have the members opposite even talked to anybody about the impact it would have, what it is that we need to have to increase the capacity of our electricity grid to be able to accommodate . . . [interjections]
The Speaker: Order. Order. The hon. Member for Edmonton- Rutherford will come to order. The Premier has the call.
Have they even talked to anybody in the electricity business about what it would cost to upgrade the power grid in order to put a hundred per cent plug-in vehicles on the road by 2035? I was in Wainwright, and I talked to somebody who wanted to put two Teslas is in his home. It would have cost $20,000 to upgrade the electricity system just to plug in those two vehicles. [interjections] Our current electricity system . . .
The Speaker: Order.
Ms Smith: . . . only allows for us to have six vehicles on a single block plugged in before, all of a sudden, we have to do a massive investment in our power grid. Are they even – how are we going to do that if the federal government is dictating to us that we’re not allowed to add new power? They also began the just. . . [interjections]
The Speaker: Order. The hon. Premier.
Ms Smith: They also began the just transition task force. What is the just transition? Well, when it was applied to coal workers, it just transitioned coal workers completely out of work. They want to have a just transition, as they call it, of oil and natural gas workers completely out of the business as well. This was also started at the federal level.
In addition, what have we seen? As we were going through our leadership contest, they announced that they wanted to have an emissions cap on fertilizer of 30 per cent.
They put a warning label on beef, for heaven’s sake.
It was only because of massive push- back on the industry that they finally relented on that and realized that they had to consult more.
They’ve announced an emissions cap just prior to our leadership race even being over.
We’re right in the middle of choosing a new Premier, and on September 30 they put forward a policy consultation to put an emissions cap on our oil and natural gas emissions that would reduce emissions 42 per cent by 2030, right in the middle of our leadership contest.
What disrespect for our process here. It isn’t even their area of jurisdiction.
Now, of course, our Member for Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul has spoken eloquently as well about the . . . [interjections]
I hesitate to interrupt – and I do apologize to the Premier for neglecting to recall that we were on the hoist amendment at the beginning of her remarks – but pursuant to Standing Order 21 the time allotted for this debate has concluded. I am . . . [interjections]
Order. Order. Order.
I am required to put all questions to the Assembly to dispose of the items before the Assembly with respect to third reading of Bill 1, Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act.’
The Bill Passed 27 to 7 at 1:02 AM Thursday Dec 8.
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