Alberta 'reluctant' to give more funding to municipalities for pot legalization
A widening Canadian crude discount is not what Alberta needs right now as it puts recession in its rearview mirror, according to the province’s finance minister.
“The recession was incredibly difficult on Alberta,” Joe Ceci told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Tuesday, referring to the economic downturn that plagued his province between 2014 and 2016. “We’re through the recession, into recovery.”
“This latest whammy… We certainly don’t need this,” he added.
The “whammy” comes in the form of the more than US$45 per-barrel discount on Western Canadian Select compared to the benchmark West Texas Intermediate. WCS fell below US$20 per barrel last Thursday, reaching a more-than-two-year low, but has since rebounded to trade at US$26.12 as of 12:35 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Ceci says the federal government needs to take action to ensure that Canadian oil commands a higher price globally.
“We think Americans are making way too much money as a result of this differential, this discount of WCS. There needs to be more done, obviously, and the federal government is in the driver’s seat around all that,” he added.
The Federal Court of Appeal sent the federal government back to the consultation process for its $4.5-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on Aug. 30. Earlier this month the National Energy Board granted intervener status to 98 applicants in the upcoming hearings to reconsider approval of the project.
It doesn’t just stop at pipelines, Ceci added.
“Pipelines, rail access, making sure potentially more upgrading goes on in Alberta: This is another thing that could really benefit,” he said. “There is, of course, a significant cost to that and private industry and the government of Alberta are talking regularly about those kinds of avenues to address this differential.”
“We’re hamstringing ourselves. We’re leaving $40 million or more on the table daily.”