The Alberta Federation of Labour says with the current sagging oil prices, this is the time for the province to invest in a new upgrader for oil sands bitumen.
"We should see it for what it is — an opportunity," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "Give the world what it wants, which is fuel in their tank and keep the jobs for us here in Alberta."
The provincial government expects a $6 billion shortfall this year because of the lower than expected oil revenues.
Gerry Angevine, an energy expert with the Frasier Institute, is not convinced building a new upgrader is a good idea.
"It's really something the government should stay clear of," Angevine. said.
She says if buidling a new upgrader was a good idea, private industry would do it and government subsidies are not a good idea either.
"If they were to default for one reason or another, at some point the taxpayers could be on the hook for some substantial amount of funds," said Angevine. "There isn't a single refiner in this country, which isn't making money hand over fist," said AFL President Gil McGowan who maintains it would create thousands of jobs.