Update - 15th February 2023:
As news spread of the federal government's plans for a "Just Transition", Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe spoke out strongly against the plan.
But one politician was suspiciously quiet - the Alberta NDP leader, Rachel Notley.
We thought Albertans, and Canadians, deserved to know whether someone running to be Premier of Alberta supported the shutting down of Alberta and western Canada's largest industry.
And so we pushed hard for Rachel Notley to answer the question - does she support the "Just Transition" idea?
But, as time went on, Notley’s silence became more and more deafening.
Eventually, her silence became so deafening that even some in the media began to question whether or not she truly disagreed with the plan.
Hours turned into days, and days turned into weeks - literally!
Two full weeks after Wilkinson’s announcement, Rachel Notley finally broke her silence, calling on Ottawa to “put the brakes on” the "Just Transition".
But, "put the brakes on" sounded a lot more like "wait until after the Alberta election" than "ditch it entirely" to us.
So we decided to do some more digging.
Well, after some excellent work by our research team, we think we now know why it took so long for Rachel Notley to oppose the “Just Transition.”
It turns out that, rather than just being some federal NDP idea that she's now distanced her provincial party from, the “Just Transition” was actually a huge part of her NDP government’s plans.
Insert flashback music here.
It’s November 2015, the newly minted NDP government are celebrating a big election win, and are moving forward with their climate change strategy.
(You know, the one they accidentally forgot to mention that they were going to implement if they won).
New Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks, Shannon Phillips, commissions a blue-ribbon report by a team of high-profile academics, to help the NDP figure out exactly how to fulfil their campaign promise (sorry, their campaign omission).
Several months later, the “Climate Leadership Report” is released, setting out the government’s vision for climate policy and - guess what?
The "Just Transition" is a key part of the NDP’s Climate Leadership Report!
Yep, that’s right - forget not knowing what the "Just Transition" is, and claiming not to support the federal government's plan.
In reality, it was Rachel Notley’s government who wrote the policy in the first place, and then made it a critical part of their entire environmental policy agenda.
Here are some extracts from the report...
In a section discussing mitigating the impacts of carbon pricing on low- and middle-income Albertans, the NDP said they would “support a sound and just transition for labour and communities…”
Later in the report, the authors highlight a quote from their friends at the Alberta Federation of Labour.
This quote is really just one gigantic contradiction, given the government is literally legislating their employment out of existence:
Next, the report talks about what the workers who lose their jobs might need to do as part of this "transition" - it notes that they may need assistance with "relocation":
Oh, sorry, did the government legislate away your job?
Not to worry, we'll "fix" it for you by helping you walk away from your entire life and move somewhere else.
Remember how Rachel Notley said Albertans might have to move to BC to find work while she was Premier?
Yeah, we'd prefer Albertans could find work here in Alberta, thanks.
Here’s the thing...
Not only did the Alberta NDP support the concept of a federal “Just Transition” when they were in government, they were also actively implementing their own “Just Transition” - 8 years earlier than the federal government!
And yet now they claim to not support the idea at all?
No wonder it took so long for Rachel Notley to answer the question.
She was probably just surprised that no one in the media had dug up her own support of "Just Transition" legislation from years before, and was wondering if she could get away with pretending she hadn’t.
Well, we’re not surprised no one in the media bothered looking.
But, we did look, and thank goodness we did!
Thank you to our researchers who dug up this document, which I'm sure the NDP would have preferred we'd not found.
If you'd like to help us do even more research like this, please click here to make a donation to our work.
Otherwise, if you haven't signed the No Unjust Transition petition yet, please do so now.
Rachel Notley's claim to now be opposed to the exact thing that she herself implemented is not credible.
She can run from it, but she can’t hide.
Her environmental policies put Alberta into one of its deepest recessions ever.
And we can't afford to repeat those mistakes.
No Unjust Transition:
We’re less than a week into 2023, and the federal government is already overstepping its constitutional authority.
The federal Liberal Natural Resources Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, has announced that his government will be going ahead with its “Just Transition” plan - the one that the federal NDP insisted be included in their confidence and supply agreement.
This is the price that the federal Liberals, and by extension all Canadians, must pay in exchange for the NDP propping up their minority government.
You would think, after a year of record high energy prices, and record high prices generally, that the government would be looking for ways to expand energy production, bring prices down for everyone, and grow the economy.
Instead, Ottawa seems hell-bent on hurtling down the path toward economic ruin.
Not since Pierre Trudeau’s “National Energy Program” has the federal government taken aim at the energy industry in such a blatant and damaging way.
But, while the “National Energy Program” certainly decimated the energy industry when it was implemented, the plan, or at least the intent of the plan, was actually to expand the oil and gas industry.
Pierre Trudeau wanted more money from the energy industry, to fuel his liberal spending habits.
Justin Trudeau’s “Just Transition” is far worse.
It’s an ideological plan with an explicitly stated goal of eliminating the oil and gas industry entirely.
The “Just Transition” isn't remotely just - it’s illegal, insane, immoral, and unjust.
Canada was intended to be a federation - a union of mostly self-governing provinces.
Confederation created a system where there was a clear division of powers between the federal government and the provinces, not a hierarchy of government authority.
The federal government has sovereignty over the issues they were given jurisdiction over, while the provincial governments have sovereignty over the issues they were given jurisdiction over.
Natural resources, and the development of those natural resources, are the sovereign jurisdiction of the provinces, not the federal government.
The “Just Transition” is an unconstitutional infringement of provincial rights, by a federal government that doesn’t seem to care about following the constitution or the rule of law - it’s illegal.
To think that, in the blink of an eye, Canada can simply abandon its oil and gas industry is so economically irresponsible it’s, frankly, insane.
Current or even foreseeable future renewables technology simply cannot entirely replace oil and gas.
The sheer magnitude of new generation, raw materials, manufacturing, and upgrades to supply chains and infrastructure that would be required in such a short period of time is ridiculous.
Closing down the oil and gas sector will lead to reduced incomes and increased costs.
Home electricity, heating, and transportation prices will skyrocket for individuals.
Farming and manufacturing costs will spike, as will transportation costs for businesses, all of which will be passed on to individuals.
A shortage of oil and gas will increase the price of everything Canadians buy.
If you think we’re suffering from an affordability crisis now, just wait until we drastically reduce the supply of the one thing needed to produce food, create goods, and live in comfort - energy.
Shutting down our existing supply of energy before we have an absolute guarantee that a replacement is fully ready is insane.
Millions of people around the world are still living in energy poverty.
They're burning coal, wood, or even dung, to survive, causing health problems from breathing in the toxic fumes.
They're unable to operate businesses or do their homework in the evening because they don't have the electricity needed to power lights after it goes dark.
It’s easy for academics to sit in their ivory towers talking about potential problems in the future, but they’re all ignoring the very real problems and challenges being suffered by millions of people right now - harms that Canadian energy could help solve.
There's even an environmental case to be made for expanding our energy sector.
Canada has access to abundant, cheap, natural gas, which we could develop and export.
Instead, by choosing to leave those resources in the ground, we’re forcing other countries to adopt or expand their usage of coal - which is worse for the environment!
By not developing our LNG, we're condemning other countries to continue burning coal, which comes with a whole host of health and air quality issues.
Canada should be increasing its energy production, to export to the world and increase the standard of living for millions.
Sitting around lecturing those less fortunate than us, instead of helping them, is immoral.
Finally, the “Just Transition” is not just.
The government is promising oil and gas workers a “pipeline” to a new job.
They’re promising to help transition anyone and everyone working in the oil and gas industry into new “green energy” jobs.
But, given Prime Minister Trudeau’s track record on pipelines, this promise will, no doubt, end up as nothing more than a disaster of epic proportions.
Does anyone seriously think that the federal government is in a position to guess what new industries will be profitable, and train up hundreds of thousands of people to work in them?
The last time the federal government shut down an entire industry, it resulted in the single largest mass layoff in the country’s history.
Roughly 30,000 people in Newfoundland were put out of work thanks to the cod fishing “moratorium”.
Despite promises from the federal government that workers would be helped, livelihoods would be protected, new industries would be created, and new higher-paying jobs would replace the ones lost, none of that happened.
When they promise that this time will be different, don’t listen.
The “training” provided to oil and gas workers won’t be effective - it won’t provide them a guaranteed job in a “sustainable” industry.
The “new industries” created by government subsidies won’t be sustainable.
They’ll probably stick around long enough to take advantage of the government handouts, only to disappear when the subsidies disappear.
Alternatively, and probably more likely, the government will be forced to keep funnelling more and more money into these make-work projects in order to keep buying votes.
How’s that for sustainable?
You can call it whatever you like - but renaming a one-way trip to the unemployment line a “just transition” doesn’t make it anything other than what it is.
Even now, 30 years later, Newfoundland is still feeling the impacts of Ottawa’s interference.
Despite decades of handouts, subsidies, “investments”, and training programs, Newfoundland never fully recovered.
The combined direct and indirect effects of the oil and gas industry make up a gigantic share of Canada’s economy.
Every other industry needs cheap and reliable energy to function.
Imagine what will happen to the Canadian economy if we allow the federal government to destroy the oil and gas industry.
The “Just Transition” isn’t just - it’s unjust.
Every single Canadian, and much of the entire world, relies on our cheap and reliable sources of energy.
The impact of getting this “transition” wrong could be catastrophic.
There’s nothing “just” about it.
It’s “just” a reduction in household income.
It’s “just” the loss of your livelihood.
It’s “just” the wholesale destruction of an entire industry.
Let’s call it what it is - an Unjust Transition - and it must be stopped.
Tell the federal government to stay in its constitutional lane and leave the energy sector alone.
Join us in fighting this illegal, insane, immoral, and unjust plan by signing the petition today.
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