Conservatives have broken their promise to stop oil sands jobs from being "lost down the pipeline," says McGowan
EDMONTON, April 19 /CNW/ - Conservative candidate Ryan Hastman is being
both offensive and untruthful when he suggests that the federal
Conservatives are the only party that can be trusted with the future of
the oil sands, says the Alberta Federation of Labour, which represents
thousands of Alberta energy sector workers.
"The Conservatives have dropped their promise to stop raw bitumen
exports to countries with lower environmental standards than Canada,"
says AFL president Gil McGowan. "We can only assume that they're now OK
with exporting unprocessed bitumen, and the value-added jobs that go
along with upgrading, to countries like India and China."
In response to media reports quoting Hastman declaring that only a
Conservative government can protect Alberta jobs, McGowan sent him a
letter reminding him of his party's backsliding on the issue of
unprocessed bitumen exports (http://www.afl.org/index.php/Reports/2011-april-19-letter-to-ryan-hastman.html ).
In his letter to Hastman, McGowan noted that Minister of Natural
Resources Christian Paradis recently travelled to the Unites States to
lobby the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. If
approved, this pipeline would export hundreds of thousands of barrels
of diluted bitumen south. Exporting that bitumen before it is upgraded
will create thousands of jobs in the U.S., but only a few here at home.
"As an Alberta labour leader whose job it is to defend the interests of
working people in the province, I'm frankly offended when Hastman and
other Conservative hopefuls talk about jobs in the oil sands when their
party's own policies are sending those jobs down the pipeline to places
like the U.S. and perhaps China," says McGowan.
"I'm also offended when they suggest that anyone who questions the
energy industry's "rip-it-and-ship-it" approach to development is
somehow anti-oil sands," adds McGowan.
"The truth is that the vast majority of Albertans want to see
development in the oil sands proceed: but they want to see that
development done in a way that is as environmentally sustainable as
possible and in a way that creates as many good jobs for Albertans as
possible. I'm frankly tired of people like Hastman saying that everyone
who doesn't parrot the line put forward by big energy companies is
somehow un-Albertan. This kind of bully-boy politics just has to stop."
McGowan concluded his letter by congratulating the NDP for developing a
more nuanced policy on the oil sands -- one that mirrors public
concerns in Alberta about environmentally responsible development and
Alberta-based job creation.
"The NDP has come a long way on their approach to the oil sands," says
McGowan. "And they've done that by listening to Albertans and people
who actually live and work here. Hastman should try that sometime."
SOURCE Alberta Federation of Labour
For further information:
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour @ 780-218-9888 (cell)