Federal government must be more supportive of energy industry: Morneau



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Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told a Calgary crowd Tuesday that he and the Liberal government must do more to Canada's energy sector in other parts of the country.

Morneau, who spoke to Justin Trudeau of the Chamber of Commerce less than a week after Prime Minister – and whose visit, like Trudeau's, was met by a large crowds of pro-oil demonstrators with a steep price discount of Alberta hammering – said he has heard from business leaders that the Canadian government is not "vocally as supportive of the industry" as it should be.

"From my perspective, the decision to purchase Trans Mountain, the expansion, it is clearly intended to substitute actions for words," said Morneau. "But I was committed last night, and was committed again this morning, to being delivering that message across our country. . . We need to be thinking about how we can be more supportive, in ways that make people agree that we are representing them well. "

Morneau expressed a deep concern about the differential for Canadian crude – which he acknowledged was causing acute anxiety in Calgary and the costing of the Canadian economy was estimated at $ 80 million per day.

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Also like Trudeau, Morneau did not propose any new solutions for dealing with the problem, but it was built and was listening to the industry in an effort to find other ways to help.

"If there were easy answers, we would have taken it," Morneau said. "But we don't see an easy answer."

Mark Scholz – president of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) – called Morneau 's federal acknowledgment government could voice more support for the industry "incredible step forward."

"This industry, for some time now, has felt that the government has done no service, so to speak, in describing it uses describing our industry," Scholz said.

Scholz said the government has a tendency to refer to "Alberta's" oil and gas sector rather than "Canada's" oil and gas sector, or the fact it has not been vocally championed and defended the country's regulatory system, is the afternoon points for industry.

"Tone at the top matters," Scholz said. "The political leaders, they matter a great deal."

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau took part in a question and answer session with University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon.

However, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce spokesman Mark Cooper said while anything the federal government does to promote the energy industry in other parts of Canada is welcome, it is now time for more concrete solutions.

"We need urgent action," Cooper said. "I think what the business community wants from you is really better to acknowledge that these market access issues and investment are that we are experiencing large-scale policies, and the constant shifting of regulatory goals."

The municipality and provincial governments pointed to the sudden announcement of the General Motors Assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., And the example of the perceived connection between the Trudeau government and what is happening on the ground in Alberta. .

"GM's two-and-a-half lost plants every month in Alberta since the economic downturn has started," Major Naheed Nenshi said, in reference to the job losses in the oil patch. "There was an emergency meeting of Parliament last night over 2,000 (Oshawa) jobs."

"Their (the federal government) actions thus far indicate they are tone to the significance of the Canadian energy sector to Canada and its impact," said Provincial Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous. "We've seen the prime minister react very quickly to the news in Oshawa. . . We're like to see the federal government move just as quickly for Alberta's energy sector. "

However, the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada president of Tristan Goodman said while he believes that the federal government needs to do more to address the differential crisis, he is willing to give Morneau and his counterparts some credit.

"The fact is that we've been out to Alberta 20 times since he's been elected. "He has put several billion dollars into the issue (by buying a pipeline)," Goodman said. "It would be an error to say the federal government has done nothing."

– With files from Chris Varcoe and Meghan Potkins

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