Last Wednesday Calgary-West resident Deidra Garyk reached out to me and asked a number of excellent questions regarding my stance on energy policy.
With her permission, I am re-publishing that email exchange here so all Calgary-West voters know my position on our most important industry.
“Hi Frank, as a proud oil and gas worker and Canadian energy advocate, I am contacting the candidates in my riding to get their position on energy policy. I would appreciate responses to my questions at your earliest convenience. ”
Deidra Garyk, a constituent in the riding of Calgary-West
Q1. Do you support the Canadian oil and gas sector
The answer has to be an unequivocal YES. There is no practical way to transition away from a hydrocarbon resource based lifestyle & economy, even if that was a stated objective, in the short term (say 10-15 years). There is all kinds of practical information outlining the enormous challenges associated with retrofitting or re-constructing our infrastructure to not only accommodate but comprehensively adopt energy alternatives. YES … there is no immediate option.
Q2. What will you do to ensure your party understands the issues the Canadian oil and gas sector faces, both currently and potentially in the future?
Though I have supported smaller oil field services companies, as a self-employed business type with limited exposure to the broader oil & gas sector, I will make ‘getting informed’ a priority. Conversations are easy, especially within the Alberta Party. Look at what has happened over the past year or more since the initial pro-oil & gas rallies. The entire country has been engaged in meaningful, thoughtful (for the most part) conversations.
Q3. Do you believe that Canada can have a thriving oil and gas sector and a robust renewables sector? How do you see the two intersecting? How will you and your party support the oil and gas sector in transitioning towards a greener economy but also developing Alberta’s oilsands?
Yes, a systematic but practical and cost-effective introduction of ‘renewables’ is entirely possible. How about we create incentives for households and businesses to reduce energy (all energy) consumption vs the carbon tax (which comes across as a penalty for using the only viable energy available), and presents as a tax grab. Based on what I’ve heard and learned, we are poised to have realistic conversations about a longer-term transition — that is, we cannot transition, immediately, to a renewable energy based Canadian society – and it seems some people are starting to get it.
Q4. What are actionable steps your party can take to spread a positive message about the oil and gas sector and how will you measure their effectiveness?
In my opinion, the Alberta Party can take advantage of and build on the momentum established this past year by such groups as Cody Battershill’s Canada Action and Rick Peterson’s Suits and Boots and other grassroots initiatives in Calgary and all through Alberta (Drayton Valley, etc). As a new political force in the province, I will urge our leadership to engage in intelligent inter-provincial and national conversations, in a manner coordinated with oil & gas sector executives, about supplying energy to Albertans and Canadians. I believe there is room for improvement in messaging in general on both political and corporate fronts. Working together in a unified effort would make sense.
Q5. What is your position on foreign-funded activist groups mandated to landlock Alberta oil from getting to competitive markets? What actions would you support against these groups?
I think a lot of folks have had their eyes opened to the importance of the oil & gas sector and its positive impact on all Canadians. I would like to further those initiatives with the goal of re-branding Alberta and Canada as a world-class hydrocarbon producer & exporter. The foreign-funded activist groups and their counter-Alberta/Canada initiatives are being systematically exposed. We need to out-spend, out-hustle, and out-think this type of opposition.
Q6. If elected, what are the first three things you will do to support the energy sector?
- I think there’s some real truth and momentum to what has been established over the past year in terms of provincial and national conversations about the importance of the energy sector. Let’s build on it in partnership with industry.
- I believe the Trans Mountain pipeline is close to a breakthrough stage and perhaps closer to breaking ground than we realize. It will be important to work with the company to ensure that there are limited road blocks (literally and figuratively) in moving ahead and maintaining the construction schedule. Let’s anticipate the opposition and be ready to move, together.
- The oil & gas and renewables sectors can and should work in parallel and complementary ways. Let’s ensure that we create win-win-win scenarios that benefit both specific sectors as well as the public. This may involve deliberate funding strategies for R&D, program implementation, remediation, and joint messaging.