What oil sands companies are not saying in this election (but should)

CALGARY - Workers from Alberta’s energy sector are calling on oil sands company executives to speak out about the threat Jason Kenney’s policies represent to the future of the oil sands.

“The CEOS and executives at Alberta’s biggest oil sands companies know the NDP got it right,” said Kim Conway, Chair of Unifor’s Energy Council.

Unifor represents thousands of workers at Suncor, Imperial, Husky and Shell. Conway says companies must share with voters what they’ve been saying to their employees and investors behind closed doors; that the province’s oil sands industry will be far better off with Rachel Notley’s energy policies.

“The big oil sands companies helped craft the Notley government’s Climate Leadership Plan because they understand that the industry must decarbonize to survive in a changing world,” said Conway.

Today energy workers are calling on executives to tell voters that Jason Kenney’s backward-looking policies actually represent a serious threat the future viability of the industry and to the jobs of thousands of Albertans.”

The NDP’s Climate Leadership Plan, unveiled in 2015, has helped Alberta oil sands companies reduce their emissions faster and more economically than the policies of the old PC government. Jason Kenney wants to revive those outdated policies, which would have the effect of rewarding environmental laggards and punishing the top performers.

“Given the fracking boom and oil glut in the United States, everyone understands that the future of our industry depends on getting into new markets in China and India. But both of those countries are introducing tough new carbon pricing systems,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to Unifor’s National President. “The only way to get into those markets and become a player on the world stage is to reduce emissions. That’s what people like out-going Suncor CEO Steve Williams mean when they say we need to become ‘carbon competitive.’ Jason Kenney’s approach of ignoring what our potential customers really want puts both investment and jobs at risk.”

“Albertans are understandably anxious and angry, so Kenney’s belligerence may seem appealing but it actually decreases the likelihood of TMX getting built. And, it’s shocking that the UCP platform – at least in its original form – didn’t make a single reference to diversification,” said Doherty.

In contrast, the NDP has been rolling out the boldest oil and gas diversification strategy that Alberta has seen since the days of Peter Lougheed. The Notley government’s ‘Made in Alberta’ strategy has already attracted $13 billion in private-sector investment and led to the creation of thousands of jobs.

“Premier Notley has a clear and comprehensive plan for dealing with the rapidly changing global oil and gas landscape,” said Conway, who works at Suncor.

“If you’re thinking about holding your nose and voting for Jason Kenney ‘because of the economy,’ think again,” she said. “In this case, it’s Notley who has the right prescription.”

For more information, please contact Unifor National Communications Representative: [email protected] or (604) 388-4398.

Unifor members making a difference in Alberta election campaign

As elections go, it’s a nail biter.  Albertans will vote for a new provincial government on April 16 and the polls show it could be close, which is why Unifor members are fully engaged.

“I’m so proud of our members who have stepped up to the plate to help with this campaign,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor’s Western Regional Director. “They know how important this election is -   to their families, their communities and the province’s future. We risk losing so much.”

NDP Premier Rachel Notley is fighting for Alberta’s future and a strong economy that preserves public health care, education and worker’s rights.

United Conservative Party (UCP) leader Jason Kenney is planning cuts to all of those, including a cut to overtime pay for workers.

Unifor members are working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. Across the province, members are door knocking, speaking up and making calls to encourage fellow members to vote and get involved.

Unifor is asking members to click here to ‘Take the Pledge’ to vote on April 16 and in advance polls on which start on Tuesday, April 9.

‘Unifor Votes Alberta’ is a member to member campaign with a goal of ensuring Rachel Notley is re-elected. Click here to see the campaign website and more information on the key issues at stake in this election.

Members can sign up to volunteer for canvassing at this link.

“Despite many scandals, Jason Kenney’s polling numbers remain strong.  That’s why we are doing everything we can to ensure he doesn’t succeed on April 16th and if you live in Alberta, please get involved,” said Unifor political organizer Erin Harrison who is coordinating the union’s 28 day campaign. Harrison is a National Representative in the Membership Mobilization and Political Action Department.

To help motivate members to go to the polls, Unifor has posted info that provides more information about the top five issues: economy and jobs; healthcare; workers protections and rights; education and energy jobs. “The opposing forces are strong and well funded by business interests that stand to make enormous financial gains from Jason Kenney’s billion dollar plan for corporate tax cuts.  Make no mistake, those cuts will be on the backs of workers,” said Warnock.  

The UCP campaign has been dogged by repeated scandals, including homophobic candidates who want teachers fired for being gay, an RCMP investigation into the UCP leadership race, planned cuts to public services and a ban on workers’ overtime.

Follow our campaign on Facebook here or on Twitter @uniforvotesalberta.

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