MEDICINE HAT, AB — Premiere Rachel Notley continues to tout her government’s plans to get oil to market as quickly as possible.
Notley was in Toronto on Thursday, speaking about how an extra 120,000 barrels of oil can be moved once rail cars are purchased by her government.
“Canada wilfully holds Alberta’s economy and Canada’s economy hostage and it’s done so for a very long time,” Notley said, addressing the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
“The solution, therefore, is to find new ways and better ways to get the product to more markets and that means new pipelines. Pretty simple,” she added.
The NDP government is prepared to buy as many as 7,000 rail cars and 80 locomotives in an attempt to narrow the price differential impacting prices for Alberta oil.
“We are facing, what can only be described as a crisis,” Notley said.
Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes agrees that an over supply of oil has created a situation where Albertan’s aren't getting anything in return. He doesn't think enough is being done to get the pipelines Alberta desperately needs.
“We cannot take our eyes off the fact that Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau have failed in getting this pipeline,” he said over the phone from Edmonton.
The price differential is an issue that's been impacting Alberta for months.
Jim Groom, political science instructor at Medicine Hat College, believes the recent low prices, combined with a spring election, has put Notley and the NDP under the gun.
“I think the big thing is, we have an election coming up,” he said.
Notley continues to stick to her message, that pipelines need to be built.
“The new pipelines do not, they do not contribute to climate change,” she said. “Instead, they only contribute to more jobs and to Canada's bottom line. That’s it.”
“The premiere has made all kinds of attempts to kind of suggest that she’s taking action and yet, there’s really not much she can do because they are frustrated,” Groom added. “It’s a long term project to get pipelines in and it’s even a long term project to get rail cars in.”
The rail cars aren’t expected to come online until late 2019.
Groom said it’s a promise the NDP can make ahead of the election and will make everyone a winner, after the pipelines are built.
“Whoever is the government at the time will take full credit for whatever success are there and will say that the opposition, they didn’t have any help whatsoever,” he said.
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