EDMONTON, AB (August 27, 2015): Tany Yao, MLA for Fort McMurray –Wood Buffalo issued the following statement regarding today’s visit to the oil sands by US Senator and presidential candidate Lindsay Graham*, US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and Congressman Tom Rice:
“Yesterday Wildrose was informed by multiple sources both inside and outside Alberta that a top level delegation of two US senators and a congressman were going to tour the oilsands. We were shocked and disappointed to discover the NDP government had failed to have any of their ministers or MLAs attend the tour, choosing instead to hand the delegation off on department level officials.
“These individuals are top level decision makers in Washington and a visit by them is a big deal. That can be seen by the fact that yesterday, they spent the day with Premier Brad Wall being shown Saskatchewan’s energy innovations, whose government took their visit seriously.
“Not having a minister in attendance for their visit quite simply sends the wrong impression at a time when our energy economy is hurting. Since the NDP was blowing them off, I offered to host the delegation on behalf of the Alberta government. At 7 p.m. last night the NDP finally found a minister to host the Senators.
“For the last several weeks the NDP government has been AWOL. Cabinet ministers are going to other provinces to campaign with anti-oil activists. Key government staffers are on leave to campaign in elections rather than deal with Alberta’s problems.
“Albertans want this government to focus on jobs and our economy. Premier Notley and her government need to up their game and get to work on improving Alberta’s image internationally, not hurting it.”
*Senator Graham is senior Republican senator who sits on multiple senate top level committees, he is currently a presidential candidate. Senator Whitehouse is a junior Democratic Senator who has been an outspoken critic of the energy industry and a lead advocate for dealing with climate change.