Today I delivered a political speech on the steps of the Alberta Legislature!
Live from the Alberta Legislature to denounce Jason Kenney, the tar sands and big oil’s influence on government!I am joined by Cass Romyn, Green Party of Canada candidate for Sturgeon River—Parkland (Edmonton) and Cree elder Raymond Collins Robinson.
Posted by Alex Tyrrell on Thursday, June 27, 2019
Today I delivered a political speech on the steps of the Alberta Legislature! Here is what I said: I am here today…
Here is what I said:
I am here today in front of the Alberta Legislature to call out Jason Kenney for his pro tar sand and pro environmental destruction agenda as well as his attacks on Quebec.
Raymond and I just returned from our Tar Sands Reality Tour where we were able to see the distruction first hand.
I am here to call Jason Kenney to order. To order for his attacks on Québec. To order for his attacks on environmental groups. To order for his insistence on continuing to worsen the environmental catastrophe in the tar sands.
Alberta has been over favoured in the federation for far too long.
They’ve been allowed to increase greenhouse gas emissions.
They’ve had 10 years of Steven Harper in government.
There’s still billions of dollars of federal subsidies to oil and gas industry.
There’s an excessively low carbon tax rate.
They’ve been allowed to export without restriction, which has created currency fluctuations that have devastated the manufacturing sector in eastern Canada.
It’s time to call Alberta to order and for Albertans to do their fair share in the environmental movement.
All over the world we are faced with Climate Crisis, and Alberta must do its part as well.
Everyone has warned Alberta: over dependence on oil and gas industry is a risky economic policy.
Rather than recognising the facts, Jason Kenney is digging in his heals: he’s doubling down, he’s attacking environmental groups, attacking Quebec, attacking anyone who disagrees with him and big oil.
He is lashing out and spending taxpayer funds to build a propaganda war room designed specifically to attack environmental groups.
The People of Quebec have been very clear: we will not be complacent in Tar Sands’ exploitation.
We will not accept new pipelines transporting dirty oil – or any oil, in fact. I agree very much with our Premier Francois Legault, who says that tar sands oil is dirty oil.
The environmental footprint of tar sands is enormous and is reflecting extremely badly on Canada’s image in the international stage.
Jason Kenney likes to talk a lot about equalization. When it comes to equalization, it is important to remember that in Quebec, we pay our taxes.
If Alberta shuts down the tar sands, their taxation capacity will decrease and, under the formula for equalization, they could actually themselves receive equalization payments.
Alberta chose to demand very few royalties from the fossil fuel industry; it could have asked for more.
Equalization in Quebec is $1400 per person per year; we can easily go without these funds. Furthermore, we pay this money through ou federal income tax, with our population of 8 million citizens.
Alberta’s insistence on exploiting oil has caused a rise in the canadian currency, which we’ve called a petro dollar, which has killed many jobs in Quebec.
If Alberta keeps in its current direction, it will receive transfers when the industry fails, which is only a matter of time before it does.
That is what the federation is about: taking care of each other.
The IPCC report says we have 30 years to achieve net zero emissions.
The fossil fuels is a failing industry – I am definitely not the first person to say that.
It’s only a matter of time until Electric vehicles, the rise of renewable energy and declining oil consumption, as well as increasing environmental awareness, bankrupt the industry on its own.
To get ahead of this pending economic meltdown, Kenney needs to shut down the tar sands now. To avoid worsening the environmental catastrophe and to ensure an orderly, government regulated transition, one that ensures that workers are protected, retrained using public funds and put to work on the cleanup and in the deployment of renewable energies, he must act now.
Doing so will be much better than a sudden shutdown stemming from financial uncertainty.
The tar sands are killing the environment. They are poisoning the water.
They are devastating communities and ecosystems, causing serious health problems for workers, exceeding GHG reduction targets, warming the planet, and consuming vast amounts of resources. And yet, they are expanding faster than ever.
It needs to stop now, and not in 30 years.
We are running out of time.
Is this the toxic legacy that Jason Keney wants to leave the people of Alberta and future generations?
Now, I can anticipate that Jason Kenney will attempt to distract from my main message by claiming I am anti jobs.
The fact is, however, that there are 140k workers in the tar sands industry, and that we need many more than that for an energy transition.
The energy transition will cost hundreds of billions of dollars and will create many jobs, as will the cleanup of the tar sands. Some people estimate it will take 2100 years to fully clean up the consequences of the tar sands.
Many of the skills of the workers of the tar sand industry are transferable. We are therefore calling on the government today to put federal money behind those workers, so they are able to transition by re-training, or are taken care of through early retirement packages.
The fact is that there are many available solutions, but little political will to seek them, whether within the NDP or Jason Kenney’s leadership.
All we hear from these two parties is whining. Whining that Alberta is suffering, underprivileged, victimized and opposed to the Paris Accord goals.
The rest of the country, and many Albertans as well, have had enough.
The tar sands are in rapid expansion – not in decline, as claimed by the mainstream Alberta Politicians.
They are still building, expanding, scaling up, and under the current federal and provincial regimes, there is no end in sight.
There is no desire to limit the climate catastrophe, and no desire to repair the environmental damage in Northern Alberta.
People are rising all over the country for the environment. We know that Tar Sands are incompatible with environmental protection, and the fight against climate change.
Big oil has clearly infiltrated the government: it seems they are writing more policies these days than the elected officials are.
Many of these companies are foreign funded, the tar sands themselves are to a large degree foreign owned.
And what is Jason Kenney’s response? To accuse the environmental groups of being foreign funded. The reality is that although the unfolding environmental catastrophic that are the tar sands have triggered a huge international condemnation, there are also plenty of Albertans and Canadians who are on the front lines of this battle.
We are ordinary people: workers, students, parents, young people etc. We are all coming together to fight climate change, pipelines and tar sands.
It’s an organic movement.
The real foreign funded operatives are the tar sands and the puppet politicians they control who are refusing to act in the best interests of the citizens they represent.
They are taking their orders from big oil, the lobbies and the special interests. Their propaganda machine and war room are nothing more than a ploy designed to distract from what their own foreign funded bosses are ordering them to do.
So, the ball is in your court Jason Kenney. What are you going to do? Destroy your children’s environment or disobey your oil bosses and shut down this disgusting, highly polluting and failing industry?
Albertans need modern leadership, not a corporate sellout like Jason Kenney taking orders from big oil on his cell phone.
And if Jason Kenney really thinks he is doing the right thing, then I challenge him to a debate at the time and place of his choosing.
If his taxpayer funded war room wants to attack me, then go for it. Let’s have this important debate on the future of Alberta, on the future of Canada and on the future of the Tar Sands.
In conclusion, I want to thank all those who I have met in Alberta for all the excellent conversations we have had.
There is a lot more Albertans opposed to the oil industry than most people think and one of those people is Cassandra Romyn, standing on my left today.
Thank you to everyone who has followed our Tar Sands Reality tour! After this we are heading to the Arctic circle to see first hand some of the impacts of climate change.
Leader of the Green Party of Quebec