Alberta Federation of Labour Report Urges Government and Energy Industry to Embrace Clean Energy Economy

EIN AFL logo 400

October 22, 2022

The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) released “Skate to Where the Puck is Going,” an industrial blueprint that re-imagines the province’s energy economy and offers a bold vision for creating 200,000 good-paying jobs while maintaining significant employment in the oil and gas sector.

“The global energy system is being disrupted by new technologies that are transforming the global economy,” says Gil McGowan, president of the AFL. “This is a once-in-a-century opportunity to establish new industries in Alberta. Economic diversification has been the Alberta holy grail for decades. The AFL has a solid plan to make it happen.”

The report describes seven “missions” that will transform the Alberta economy. The most significant is transitioning the oil and gas sector from producing feedstock for refining fuels like gasoline to producing feedstock for materials manufacturing like carbon fibre. This includes manufacturing products from captured CO2. Other missions include a huge build out of the Alberta power sector, needed because abundant, clean, low-cost electricity is the foundation of the 21st century economy; establishing a battery metal refining and processing sector for the North American EV industry; and building a world class hydrogen sustainable fuels sector that will support innovation in other industries while providing a new export product.

“With the Inflation Reduction Act, the United States has determined to catch China for the lead in the clean energy economy,” said McGowan. “The Americans have chosen a regional, North American strategy that will create enormous economic opportunities for Alberta. We must raise our ambition if we are to take advantage of them.”

Greater ambition requires a different approach than the tired tax and regulation cutting tactics used by the UCP and other conservative governments. The time has come for a return to the “entrepreneurial state” approach of former premier, Peter Lougheed. The Alberta government must take the advice of renowned economist Mariana Mazzucato: lead, accept risk, demand reward for that risk in the form of equity.

“UCP economic policy consists of giving money to big corporations. Premier Lougheed must be turning in his grave,” said McGowan. “Ownership is the cost for private capital when the government de-risks new technologies and industries. The people of Alberta should not be seen as a charity for the wealthy. When we invest, we want a return.”

The report describes seven policies to support the seven missions, and the most significant policy is a re-imagining of public ownership. Crown corporations will partner with the private sector when possible, but invest on their own if necessary. Capital will come from a windfall tax on oil and gas, as well as putting an end to the overly generous discounts of the provincial industrial emitters carbon tax.

“It is also time for other stakeholders to sit at the table when decisions are made,” said McGowan. “Labour, Indigenous communities, civil society leaders, landowners, all make an important contribution to the economic life of this province and they deserve to have a say for a change.”

“With this report, the AFL is not just tweaking the status quo. We are calling for the provincial government to lead a substantive re-engineering of the Alberta economy. The global energy system and the international economy are changing at breakneck speed and we must keep up, we must compete, and we must create a better life for the working men and women of this province.”

A sense of urgency is integral to ensuring Alberta is not left behind.

“This report argues that the status quo is under assault – from new technologies, global economic restructuring, and government policies – and urgent action is immediately required,” McGowan notes. “Much of the work needed to revamp the Alberta energy economy must be completed by 2030, which means now is the time to act. Alberta has to skate to where the puck is going, or risk being left behind. The reward for taking bold action now will be economic development and job creation on the scale of what we saw during the height of the oil sands boom, perhaps even bigger. From an economic perspective, we can’t afford not to seize these opportunities.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

The executive summary of the report can be accessed here.


Related Articles

Latest Articles

  • Housing Starts Flat in August

    Housing Starts Flat in August

    September 25, 2023 The trend in housing starts was flat in August at 244,507 units, up 0.8% from 242,552 units in July, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly SAAR of total housing starts for all areas in Canada. The monthly seasonally adjusted annual… Read More…

  • Lineman’s Testing Laboratories’ (LTL) Comprehensive Expertise Makes Rexel Aquisition an Ideal Partnership

    Lineman’s Testing Laboratories’ (LTL) Comprehensive Expertise Makes Rexel Aquisition an Ideal Partnership

    September 25, 2023 By Blake Marchand Earlier this year, Rexel announced the acquisition of Lineman’s Testing Laboratories (LTL), which allows Rexel to offer a complementary range of products and services and enhanced opportunities in the value-add market. LTL is a unique company with three comprehensive areas of expertise, Power Technical Services (Electrical Engineering & Substation… Read More…

  • Guillevin Code Series – New Rules Around GCFIs

    Guillevin Code Series – New Rules Around GCFIs

    September 25, 2023 By William (Bill) Burr[i] [i] William (Bill) Burr is an associate member of the Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1, Technical Committee and formerly Chair of the Canadian Advisory Council on Electrical Safety (CACES), Chief Electrical and Elevator Inspector for the Province of BC & the Northwest Territories, Director of Electrical and Gas… Read More…

  • Alberta Releases Two New STANDATA Bulletins on Permit Regulation and Utility Code

    Alberta Releases Two New STANDATA Bulletins on Permit Regulation and Utility Code

    September 22, 2023 Alberta has released two new STANDATA bulletins regarding permit regulation and the Alberta Electrical Utility Code. Electrical STANDATA, developed jointly by Alberta Municipal Affairs and the Safety Codes Council, are information bulletins containing interpretations, clarifications, recommended practices or province-wide variances on Codes and Standards matters related to the Safety Codes Act.  Permit… Read More…

Changing Scene