Alberta Government kills hope for value-added jobs

OTTAWAThe announcement that the Government of Alberta will not be supporting the Alberta First Nations Energy Centre is a signal we’re moving in the wrong direction, says MP Nathan Cullen.

“Here’s a great example of a how First Nations could benefit economically from natural resource development, and the provincial government killed it,” said Cullen.

The proposed Teedrum’s First Nations Energy Centre, run by the Driftpile Cree First Nation and situated northwest of Edmonton, would have refined 125,000 barrels of bitumen each day.

“This project would have advanced the economy. When you create finished products like jet fuel and gasoline you have value-added jobs. These are the best paying, most secure jobs. They feed families,” said Cullen.

Instead, Energy Minister Ted Morton announced that be province will not be backing the project, which estimates show, would have contributed $100 billion to the Canadian economy.

“It’s another example of how poor use of our natural resources is becoming the norm in this country,” said Cullen. “We could export finished products to Asia, but instead, the Alberta Government is choosing to mimic Ottawa’s decisions to send raw resources out of the country and with it the best jobs.”

The proposal was part of the Bitumen Royalty-In Kind or BRIK program, which was created to assist with upgrading bitumen to “higher value products,” according to the Energy Alberta website.

“The fact that this kind of a project gets shot down makes no sense for resource development. It’s bad for local First Nations and bad for Canada,” argued Cullen.

In his efforts to fight against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal, Cullen has repeatedly pointed to, among other concerns, the economic foolishnesses of not upgrading and refining bitumen in Canada.

“You have to wonder who these decision makers are working for, because it certainly isn’t Canadians or Albertans.”

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