CALGARY — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, once a reluctant defender of the oilpatch, now says she won’t take no for an answer on getting a bitumen pipeline to tidewater.
The NDP premier made the pledge in a televised speech to Albertans on Thursday evening, a week before presenting a budget that will come with a $10-billion-plus deficit and help for the needy as the once oil-rich province struggles with a price shock that has destroyed government revenue, investment and jobs.
“We can’t continue to support Canada’s economy, unless Canada supports us,” she said. “That means one thing: building a modern and carefully regulated pipeline to tidewater,” she said. “I can promise you this: I won’t let up. We must get to ‘yes’ on a pipeline.”
In the 15-minute address, pre-recorded from her kitchen Tuesday, Notley spoke frankly about the “economic pain and anxiety” felt by Alberta families and about the challenges her government was up against.
Revenue from oil and gas royalties will plummet by almost 90 per cent this year, she said. Two years ago, it collected $10 billion in royalties, which represented one-fifth of government revenue.
Notley said she appreciates efforts by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to improve unemployment insurance for Alberta’s jobless, but was critical of the exclusion of Edmonton and surrounding communities, which she said needs to be fixed.
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