Stop slagging oilsands, Alta. premier warns

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach warns federal party leaders against exploiting the province's oilsands for political gain.
Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach warned federal party leaders against policies that would threaten the province's oilsands. (CBC)

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach is warning federal party leaders against exploiting the province's oilsands for political gain in the election campaign.

"Federal leaders should be looking at how the oilsands can help strengthen our country," he wrote in an open letter to the media. "They should not be using this critical resource to try to drive a wedge between Canadians."

Stelmach is wading into the federal election campaign after all three major national parties released platforms that would curtail tax breaks for the oilsands. ((CBC))
Stelmach suggests some of the parties' platforms will stifle growth and penalize the oilsands with detrimental tax policies, though he doesn't give specifics. 

Earlier in the campaign, NDP Leader Jack Layton vowed to cut roughly $2 billion in federal fossil fuel subsidies to the "tarsands," using what's considered in Alberta a pejorative term for the oilsands.

The Conservatives said they, too, support eliminating some tax subsidies for the oilsands.

The Liberals have proposed cancelling corporate tax breaks for oilsands development and limiting tax breaks on stock options.

Stelmach maintained that the oilsands provide jobs across the country, as well as tax revenue and economic growth. 

"It is frustrating that, once again, campaign promises are being made that will hurt the West," Stelmach wrote in his letter, released late Monday. "It is not new for Alberta to be in the crosshairs of federal political parties."