Monday, January 19, 2009

Ignatieff won't run against oilpatch

This is from the Calgary Hearald.

Ignatieff is just sinking an exploratory well to see if he can get some donations flowing into the bankrupt Liberal party from Alberta. Ignatieff wishes to see that Ignatieff plays his traditional role of supplier of raw materials for the US and allies himself with those reactionary forces that want this to happen without much in the way of environmental standards to get in the way. No doubt this is a policy that Harper would also support. Maybe Ignatieff and Harper should form a coalition to beat back those pesky NDPers and the Bloc Quebecois! Ignatieff's move is a sure sign that environmentalists are in retreat in the Liberal Party after the disaster of the marketing of Dion's Green Plan.

Ignatieff won't 'run against oilpatch'

supports bailout for western oil

By Jason Fekete, Calgary Herald; With Files From Shaun Polczer, Calgary Herald; Calgary HeraldJanuary 17, 2009
The oilpatch has found a new ally in what not so long ago would have been an unlikely place --the federal Liberal leader.
New Grit boss Michael Ignatieff is firing back at the "dirty oil" criticisms of the oilsands coming from U.S. lawmakers and officials in the incoming Obama administration.
In an interview Friday, he also insisted the federal government must consider offering the oil and gas sector a stimulus package in its Jan. 27 budget, comparable to the multibillion-dollar bailout of the Ontario-based auto industry.
"The West should be rightly angry if we assisted only Central Canada," Ignatieff told the Herald. "We can't put money into the auto sector in Central Canada without considering the legitimate concerns of the B.C. forest industry and the Alberta oil industry. There has to be regional fairness in the stimulus package."
Ignatieff also stood up for the energy sector on its most controversial front --the oilsands. While it has its environmental challenges, he said the oilsands are a lucrative tool, both financially and politically, that increases Canada's stature around the globe and allows the country to stand its ground on several policy fronts against the U. S.
"It massively increases Canada's geopolitical importance, above all, to the United States," he said.
"They have to be aware of one simple fact, that Canada exports more petroleum to the United States than Saudi Arabia. This is a very important partnership and they should balance their legitimate environmental concerns with an understanding of just how important the oilsands are to the future of the American economy."
Ignatieff said his "chief concern" is the incoming Obama administration's labelling of Canada's secure energy supply as "dirty oil."While the Ontario MP recognizes oilsands production is relatively dirty, he said calling the resource names isn't going to resolve problems or improve the Canada-U. S. relationship.
Greg Stringham, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said Friday there is growing recognition on both sides of the border -- from Ignatieff and Obama officials --about the importance of the oilsands to the North American economy.
"That's a good thing,"Stringham said.
Ignatieff's predecessor, Stephane Dion, had championed a revenue-neutral carbon tax oilpatch observers worried would inflict disproportionate damage on Alberta's carbon-based economy.
The new Liberal leader, meanwhile, said he recognized there are serious environmental, economic and social concerns with oilsands development that must still be addressed--but he said that won't stand in his way of supporting the energy sector when it's the engine driving the economy in many parts of Canada.
"Oil production is a dirty business but it doesn't mean it can't be reconciled with environmental objectives,"he said. "I take a very positive view of oilsands development. . . It doesn't make any sense to me to run against the oilpatch."

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