Alberta’s Premier, Danielle Smith, has vociferously criticized federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault for remarks about the need for a cap on emissions. Guilbeault had justified the move by pointing out that Suncor, an Alberta-based company, is increasingly focused on the oil and gas sector, thus necessitating federal intervention.
Premier Smith vehemently disagreed with Guilbeault’s contention, arguing that it mounts an unnecessary and unjustified attack on Alberta’s energy establishments. She emphasized the environmental sense and ethical commitment that dictate Alberta’s energy pursuits.
Guilbeault is expected to usher in draft legislation this autumn. This proposal aims to establish a ceiling on emissions originating from oil and gas production, and then gradually ratchet them down.
Despite the federal government’s intentions, Smith declared that Alberta will neither comply with such a cap nor adhere to Ottawa’s objective of achieving a net-zero status in the electric grid by 2035. She defended Alberta by stating the province should not be subjected to destabilizing commentary regarding investments.
In a challenging tone, she stated, “Ottawa is constitutionally devoid of any authority to regulate domains that are exclusively under provincial purview.” Sending a clear message to the capital, she asked the federal government to avoid underestimating the determination of the Alberta government and its residents.
Earlier this month, Suncor’s CEO Rich Kruger informed investors, during a conference call, of the company drawing disproportionate attention towards the long-term transition to reducing emissions and augmenting the use of renewable resources. He expressed his concern about not centering enough on the immediate business priorities, adding, “our strength lies in generating value through our significant integrated assets backed by oilsands.”
In response to Kruger’s commentary, Guilbeault voiced his disappointment, drawing attention to the large-scale evacuation pullulated by wildfires that have been affecting tens of thousands of Canadians.
Smith, however, emphasized that Alberta is prepared to initiate a cooperative venture with Ottawa to reach the common goal of a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. Simultaneously, she criticized Guilbeault for his association with the China Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development, arguing that he was turning away from China’s less-than-stellar environmental track record while they continue to set up coal emissions plants with alarming frequency.
Guilbeault had recently visited China to discuss prospective collaborations on combatting climate change.