In Western Canada, oil becomes a major theme in Alberta politics a week before vote

OTTAWA, May 23 (Reuters) – The fortunes of Alberta politicians are often tied to the province’s biggest industry, Western Canada’s oil and gas sector, and its biggest defender The question of who will be has become a major theme in Congress. The final week before the Albertans choose their leader.

Polls are split between Prime Minister Daniel Smith’s ruling United Conservative Party (UCP) and Rachel Notley’s left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP). Voting May 29.

“We know that as long as we keep the energy industry strong, we can keep Alberta’s economy strong,” Smith said at Thursday’s debate. “Mr. Notley would never do that.”

Smith is tapping into perceptions that already exist among voters. Angus Reed Institute poll released last week found that about 51% of Albertans said Mr. Smith is the best manager of the oil and gas sector, compared to 32% for Mr. Notley.

Notley first came to power in 2015, ending more than 40 years of Progressive Conservative rule in Alberta, but oil prices plummeted during her tenure. She introduced production cuts to boost prices, a move that drew support from some big producers but was heavily criticized by others.

She lost the 2019 election to UCP leader Jason Kenny, whom Smith succeeded last year. Smith, a former conservative talk radio host who has sparked a lot of controversy in just seven months, was disciplined this week for: violate the code of ethics.

Mr. Notley also said that when the federal government purchased the Trans Mountain Pipeline in 2018, he also hired Liberal Prime Minister Justin Liberal to ensure completion of the expansion and provide the West Coast with a much-needed export route for Alberta’s crude oil. Worked closely with Trudeau. Prime Minister Trudeau is very unpopular among Alberta’s conservatives because of his climate change policies.

“When I talk about my track record in oil and gas, I find it hard to forget the big thing: completing a pipeline to tidal water for the first time in 50 years,” Notley told Smith during a debate. Told.

Canada has the world’s third largest oil reserves, most of which is stored in northern Alberta. vast oil sandsThat’s about two-thirds of the country’s 4.9 million barrels per day output, so it’s no surprise it’s an economic touchstone for leaders in every state.

“Rachel Notley, even if her approach isn’t very different from Smith’s, has given me a lot (as much as Smith) that she’s equal or worthy of leading the state on oil and gas defense. We may not be convincing Alberta voters,” Shachi said. Karl is the president of Angus Reed Company.

Benchmark US light crude last week traded above $71 a barrel. When Mr. Notley was in power, oil was trading at around $26.05 a barrel.

Mr. Smith took over the party from Mr. Kenny after an oil slump and price recovery during the pandemic, and the first budget increased spending on health care, education and highways.

Andrew Leach, professor of economics and law at the University of Alberta, said, “Resource income…allows us to operate budget surpluses, keep taxes low, and deliver those services. It’s almost political magic.” says.

Reporting by Steve Scherer, Ottawa Additional reporting by Fergal Smith, Toronto Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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