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Federal Government Announces $1.65 Billion in Aid for Oil and Gas Industry

With the Alberta energy sector reeling from a supply glut and low crude prices, the federal government announced $1.5 billion in loans for the oil and gas sector. The government also provided $100 million in funding related to economic diversification and $50 million in funding for “clean growth” projects. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was critical of the decision, saying “There’s very little money in this, it’s mostly loans. We didn’t ask for the opportunity to go further into debt… The issue is not finding a market for our product. This does not reflect the kind of responsiveness that we need to see.”

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney Fires Commissioner Investigating His Party

Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) and newly elected premier of Alberta, fired Lorne Gibson, the provincial election commissioner amid an investigation by that commissioner into multiple alleged offences by the UCP. The commissioner had already fined the UCP tens of thousands of dollars for multiple infractions, including accepting illicit campaign donations and obstructing an investigation. Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley denounced the firing as “an attack on Alberta’s democracy.” The watchdog organization Democracy Watch later called on the RCMP to investigate the firing.

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Carbon Pricing in Canada

Carbon pricing plans impose a cost on the combustion of fossil fuels by industries and consumers — either directly through a tax, or indirectly through a cap-and-trade system. In a market economy like Canada’s, prices help regulate the supply and demand of goods and services. By influencing the price of a commodity like gasoline, through carbon pricing, governments aim to discourage its use and thereby reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that result from its consumption.

In 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a national climate-change policy that included a system of carbon pricing across Canada. As of June 2019, eight provinces and territories have carbon pricing plans that meet the requirements of the national policy. In the remaining provinces — Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick — Ottawa imposed or intends to impose its own carbon tax. The tax has vocal opponents on the political right, including some premiers and party leaders.