Manitoba says no to talk about exporting Alberta oil
Premier of Alberta is looking for other options to export oil from her province.
The Manitoba government has more pressing concerns than responding to Alberta's request to discuss shipping oil from the Port of Churchill, says Premier Heather Stefanson.
She says she is open to further discussions, but the invitation from new Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is not a top priority.
I understand the position of the Premier of Alberta. She faces an election and difficult political challenges in her own province. She wants to get rid of some of these problems.
However, these are not the priorities of the Manitoba government.
There are other more urgent matters to be addressed at this time, and that is why we are here today to care for the most vulnerable in our society,” the Prime Minister said Monday on the sidelines of an announcement to address homelessness.
She added that improving the health care system and fighting the effects of inflation were also among her priorities.
Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson says her government will focus on issues like tackling inflation, homelessness and the health system. (archives)
In a letter posted on social media over the weekend, the Premier of Alberta requested a meeting in Churchill with Heather Stefanson and their Saskatchewan counterpart, Scott Moe.
Danielle Smith wanted to explore ways the Prairie provinces can work together to transport oil and agricultural products to other world markets through northern Manitoba.
Our leadership will give weight and meaning to the Canadian response to Russia's atrocities and show the rest of the world that it does indeed pay off to export low-cost Canadian energy and food. carbon content to Europe, writes Danielle Smith.
The idea of shipping oil through Churchill is not new, but it has long been the subject of resistance, with locals worried about possible oil spills in the event of a derailment.
Moreover, according to them, the cost of upgrading the railway line to facilitate energy exports would be immense.
Danielle Smith during her victory in the United Conservative Party leadership race on October 6, 2022 (on file).
In her letter, Danielle Smith argues that the economic arguments in favor of the Port of Churchill expansion are improving.
She adds that investors are looking for responsibly produced energy and don't want to depend on regimes like Russia's after the attack on Ukraine.
Danielle Smith became Premier of Alberta earlier this month. She campaigned for the leadership of the United Conservative Party in part on a promise to assert Alberta's independence from the federal government. She complains that Ottawa does not respect her province's energy resources.
The Alberta Premier argues in her letter that, as Premier, her priority is to put leveraging provincial initiative rather than waiting for federal action.
Danielle Smith says Ottawa has been unwilling to find alternative energy sources while Russia and Ukraine are at war.
For her part, the Premier of Manitoba, Heather Stefanson, believes that any discussion on the transport of oil must be held with the Aboriginal communities, adding that the latter must benefit from the spinoffs economical.
In August, the Manitoba government announced $73 million to help the Arctic Gateway Group upgrade, operate and maintain the Hudson's Bay Railway, Churchill's only land link to the south.
The latter had been interrupted for more than 18 months after floods in May 2017, because the railway line is located in marshy terrain.
At the time of the August announcement, Heather Stefanson said improvements to the rail corridor could help find alternatives to reliance on Russian exports.
Danielle Smith has added her voice to the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, for there to be oil flowing through Churchill.
Mr. Poilievre campaigned on the idea at a rally in Winnipeg this year, before he was elected Conservative leader.
With information from Ian Froese