Tories acting to benefit pipeline companies and foreign oil interests, says AFL
The Conservative government's withdrawal of support for an upgrader clearly shows its priority is exporting raw bitumen instead of creating real value for Albertans, says the province's largest labour group.
"The government is focused on ripping and shipping our raw resources out of the province – and as they ship out unrefined bitumen, they are shipping good jobs down the pipeline," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), which represent 145,000 workers.
"The oil sands are owned by the citizens of Alberta and they deserve to get a fair return on the sale of those resources. Upgrading in the province would not only keep good jobs here, it would build our economy and increase government revenue," he says.
Teedrum Inc. and the majority of Alberta First Nations today announced the government of Alberta has suddenly decided to withdraw prior conditional support for the construction of a $6.6-billion refinery in the Alberta Heartland region.
"Not long ago, the Tories compared shipping raw bitumen out of the province to a farmer selling off its topsoil. It set a target of refining 72 per cent of our bitumen within our borders. It's clear from today's announcement that the Conservative government has abandoned that policy," says McGowan.
Recent research by the AFL shows that the percentage of oil-sands bitumen upgraded in the province will actually drop to 52 per cent by 2016 – a far cry from the earlier target. Click here for accompanying table and graph.
"The majority of Albertans want to process more of our bitumen here, but the Conservative government doesn't want to listen to them. They appear to be more intent on acting as the sales departments for pipeline companies and foreign oil interests than doing what's best for Albertans," says McGowan.
MEDIA CONTACT: Gil McGowan, AFL president, 780-218-9888