Brad Wall: Western Canada should focus on protecting jobs amid depressed oil prices
Former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is urging the federal government to reconsider or even abandon Bill C-69, a proposed piece of legislation that would overhaul the review process of energy projects in Canada, as a myriad of problems batter the country’s oil sector.
“I think the prime minister would have been well-advised to announce yesterday, in Calgary, that his government was withdrawing, or significantly amending, Bill C-69,” Brad Wall, who now works as a special advisor at law firm Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP, told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Friday.
“The federal government is introducing a bill that will make it worse, that will make this differential problem more permanent.”
Wall’s comments come on the back of a speech delivered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Calgary Thursday, in which he described Alberta’s situation as a “crisis” that does not have a “simple, easy answer.”
“I have not seen this level of western alienation – that sense that there is this disconnect – since, well, I can’t remember it ever being this intense,” Wall said.
“That should get the attention of the federal government – more than just saying, ‘I feel your pain.’”
Wall said he doesn’t know what the short-term solution is for the problems that Canada’s energy sector faces, such as pipeline bottlenecks and the steep oil discount, which Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has said is costing the country’s economy $80 million a day.
But, he warned that Ottawa’s inaction could hurt the Liberal government in next year’s federal election.
“The cumulative effect of all these things has been very difficult on Western Canada and I do think it will cost them in Alberta.”