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With oil plunging, action plan needed to attract investment to Alberta's energy sector

With oil collapsing to a 12-year low, the NDP government needs to begin to reverse some of the damage done by new tax increases and regulatory changes to the energy sector and ensure the royalty review increases Alberta’s competitiveness, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

As markets opened on Thursday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was selling at $32.10, with Western Canadian Select (WCS) selling below $20 per barrel.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said while the NDP doesn’t control the price of oil, their ideological and aggressive actions have made a bad situation even worse.

“Alberta is now seen as a less attractive place to invest, and this only hurts the families and people who rely on these jobs to pay their bills and provide for their loved ones,” Jean said. “To bring stability to our economy, the NDP government needs to begin by ensuring Alberta increases its ability to compete with jurisdictions here in North America and around the world. This means creating a more friendly tax environment, and promising the royalty review will only increase Alberta’s competitiveness.”

Since being elected, the NDP government has increased business taxes by 20 per cent, doubled the tax on large emitters, placed limits on oil sands expansion, introduced plans for an economy wide $3 billion carbon tax, and is still conducting a royalty review that is causing businesses to withhold investing in Alberta.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association has called for a stronger competitive framework for Alberta under the royalty review, and the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors has asked for current and future tax increases to be offset through lower royalty rates to, “preserve Alberta’s competitiveness.”

Wildrose Shadow Energy Minister Leela Aheer lamented that instead of being an advocate for building pipelines and being proud of our province being blessed with the third largest oil reserves in the world, Premier Notley calls our province an “embarrassing cousin.”

“In every corner of the province, Albertans are dealing with the weight and anxiety of job loss, seeing their wages cut or wondering if they’ll still have their job at the end of their day,” Aheer said. “The NDP government needs to begin taking some of these concrete steps Wildrose is calling for today to keep a bad situation from becoming even worse.”