Alberta Premier Danielle Smith recently gave a fierce “no” response to Canadian President Justin Trudeau’s attempts at eliminating the Canadian oil and gas industry under the Sustainable Jobs Act.
“I remind the federal government that due to emissions reduction technologies, oil, and gas sector jobs are also sustainable jobs and will continue to be so for many decades and beyond. This must be clearly recognized by the government and its new advisory panel members,” Smith said.
Ottawa is proceeding with their “Sustainable Jobs Act” (formerly called Just Transition).
— Danielle Smith (@ABDanielleSmith) June 16, 2023
“Alberta will not recognize, cooperate with or enforce any attempt to phase out our province’s oil and gas industry or its workforce. This is non-negotiable,” Smith said.
“I look forward to upcoming discussions with the federal government to secure alignment between its and Alberta’s emissions reduction strategies. Doing so as quickly as possible will unlock hundreds of billions in investment dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs for Albertans and Canadians,” she added.
Smith’s remarks came after an announcement from federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who said the Trudeau government repackaged its “Just Transition” bill aimed toward Canada’s oil and gas sector, primarily located in Alberta. The legislation is now called the Sustainable Jobs Act.
In a recent media frenzy, Wilkinson said the bill is primarily about “new opportunities” for workers, including fields of crucial minerals, biofuels, and hydrogen. Wilkinson vowed that the Trudeau government was committed to “ensuring the relevance” of Canada’s oil and gas industry.
Wilkinson shared few details during his encounter with the media but said it was vital for Canada to maintain “smart choices” and be a global example for sustainable jobs.
“Global financial markets are driving many of these changes, with investors looking to steer away from investments that are not consistent with the low carbon future,” he said.
Smith, rebutting Wilkinson’s comments, said, “As the development of Alberta’s natural resources and the regulation of our energy sector workforce are constitutional rights and the responsibility of Alberta, any recommendations provided by this new federal advisory council must align with Alberta’s Emissions reduction and Energy Development Plan.”
Smith recently criticized Trudeau’s demand that Canada reach a zero-greenhouse gas emissions standard by 2035. She called such an order “unachievable.”
“Well, we have to fight it with every power we have. The Constitution’s pretty clear — Alberta has the right to develop its resources in its own way and because I’ve set an emissions reduction target that’s in line with the federal target of 2050 — then I believe the Supreme Court will side with us, but we have to fight it out and I’m prepared to defend our jurisdiction,” Smith said.
Trudeau’s Sustainable Jobs Act was criticized by Alberta and other energy-rich provinces when the media publicly released a memorandum to Wilkinson from his department that promised oil and gas workers would face termination because of Trudeau’s climate agenda.
“Innovation in the green economy will require a core workforce with the latest training in emerging technologies or a different mix of skills and knowledge which may cumulate in new green occupations,” the memorandum stated. “However not all jobs will require completely new skill sets.”