September 21st, 2019

Nationwide tour sounds alarm on lost revenue

By COLLIN GALLANT on June 13, 2019.

NEWS PHOTO COLLIN GALLANT
Franco Terrazzano, of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, (centre), and Lisa Kowalchuk, of the Medicine Hat chamber of Commerce, join in a photo with workers at Iron Horse Energy Services Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at an event showcasing revenue lost while petroleum producers suffer a lack of export pipline capacity. -- NEWS PHOTO COLLIN GALLANT June 12, 2019

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

Business lobby groups say the cost of delays to pipeline projects is adding up and leading Canada toward a national unity crisis.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce joined forces Wednesday, bringing a revenue clock to Iron Horse Energy Services in Redcliff.

The device calculates the amount of lost federal revenue considering a price differential earned on Alberta oil that is exacerbated by bottlenecks from 2013 onward, and this week the tally rose above $6.2 billion.

“We’re trying to show all Canadians why they would care about pipelines,,” said Franco Tarrazzano, the Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “We’re losing out on billions of dollars because we can’t get them built and get full value for our oil.

“It’s a message we’ve been taking coast to coast.”

The federal government is expected to announce a decision June 18 on how to proceed with the TransMountain Pipeline expansion – a project purchased by Ottawa and Alberta last year in hopes of signalling to investors and opposition groups that the project would proceed. Since last fall however, Ottawa has been redoing consultations with Indigenous groups and others after federal court ruled previous work inadequate.

At the same time, lawmakers in Ottawa are debating two bills, C-48 and C-69, that would lay down new consultation rules for future projects and also regulate tanker activity on the West Coast.

Lisa Kowalchuk, executive director of the Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce, said those bills need to be re-examined and the TMX project along with other export lines should move ahead.

“We’ve joined with other chambers across the country and today with the CTF to sound the alarm that Canada is at a social and economic tipping point because of our failure to get energy resource infrastructure built,” said Kowalchuk. “The cohesion of our country is being impacted by the devastating effect of low oil prices.”

This week six premiers, including Alberta’s Jason Kenney, issued a statement to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Canadian Chambers of Commerce says a “commercially viable” project like the TMX should proceed.

Iron Horse manager Brandon Hamilton told reporters that the energy industry contributes to local and national economies, but needs new projects to go ahead.

“We definitely support getting pipelines built,” said Hamilton. “When the energy services (sector) is successful it benefits everyone.”

The stop was part of a final leg of a tour of the device that the CTF said was nationwide.

It stopped earlier in the day Wednesday in Lethbridge, then will travel to Edmonton and Lloydminster before the tour ends in Red Deer.

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