Wildrose Party Leader trashes Alberta NDP's quest for social licence

Faced with staggering job losses in Alberta and instability in key energy markets, Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean says it's time for the provincial government to "change course" and "stop talking about a social licence."

Opposition leader says Alberta is 'better than anybody in the world' on environmental integrity

Alberta Wildrose leader Brian Jean says it is time for the provincial government to change course. (CBC)

Faced with staggering job losses in Alberta and instability in key energy markets, Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean says it's time for the provincial government to "change course" and "stop talking about a social licence." 

"It's time to reverse direction for the NDP government and ... stop talking about a social licence that will simply not get any assistance from any other jurisdiction," he said in an interview with CBC's Alberta at Noon.

Jean blamed low investor confidence on recent legislation by the Notley government, including the introduction of a carbon tax, the yearly cap of 100 megatonnes on oilsands emissions and the delayed Alberta Royalty Review.

"They're not sending good signals to the rest of the world," said Jean, adding that the province relies on foreign capital to build multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects. 

Best in the world, says Jean

Opposition leader Jean even went so far as to suggest that the current provincial government is "working against us getting our product to market, and as a result [is] working against Alberta jobs, our quality of life and our economy."

"[Premier Notley] went to Paris and she talked about how ashamed she was of our record. We do it better than anybody in the world," said Jean.

"That includes environmental integrity. That includes human rights. That includes labour laws," he said.

"I'm not going to apologize for doing it better than anybody on the planet."

According to Statistics Canada, Alberta's emissions have increased 53 per cent since 1990, primarily because of the increase in production of petroleum products for export markets. (Statistics Canada)

Jean said he was proud of what past governments have done to reduce emissions and water usage in the oilsands, and he denied that Alberta produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other province in Canada. 

"That's simply not the case. We do not," he said.

"The oilsands, as far as if you balance it against economic activity, does much less than other industries," he said, adding that he would "stand up for the facts, for science and for having an honest debate about the issues that are before us."

On Energy East

Jean also stood by the sharp comments he fired at Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre for opposing the Energy East pipeline.

"Is that fair, to say that they should get [oil] from foreign dictators rather than their brothers and sisters in Alberta that are working hard and trying to provide a better living for their families? Is that fair?" he asked.

"Think of how ridiculous this is. We have a situation where we can't get our natural resources to tidewater, we can't get across other provincial boundaries without problems.

"We need to work together, all of Canada, every province, every politician to put aside the rhetoric and focus on what's important," he said.

"This will benefit all Canadians. It will help all people in Quebec, Ontario, and right across the country."


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