Calgary

Pembina oilsands report slammed by Alberta government

A new report says there are risks to rapid oilsands development and most of the benefits are felt in Alberta not nationwide —​ a conclusion being criticized by the Alberta government.

Rapid pace of oilsands development is creating economic risks, says environmental group

A new report from the Pembina Institute questions whether the benefits of Alberta's oilsands are really felt across Canada, or if that is just part of the government's strategy to boost pipeline support. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

A new report says there are risks to rapid oilsands development and most of the benefits are felt in Alberta not nationwide —​ a conclusion being criticized by the Alberta government. 

The Pembina Institute says the rapid pace of oilsands development is creating economic risks and inflating Canada's dollar, which hurts the competitiveness of manufacturing in Eastern Canada. 

It's the same argument made by former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty in 2012, which was slammed by Alberta Premier Alison Redford as "simplistic." 

Sarah Dobson with Pembina says governments and industry overstate the benefits for other provinces as part of a strategy to boost support for more pipelines.

"There are benefits from oilsands expansion but they're not the nation-building projects they're being promoted as," she said. "The vast majority of the benefits are centred in Alberta." 

But Ken Hughes, Alberta's minister of energy, says the reality is the oilsands have created thousands of jobs in other provinces — and billions in tax revenues for governments beyond Alberta.

"To argue that the benefits are not distributed across the country I think is naive, ill-informed and does not reflect the facts," he said. 

Pembina wants governments to eliminate preferential tax treatment for the energy industry and work harder to promote clean energy technology for the future.

Read the full report:

With files from Scott Dippel

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