Scott plans to showcase region, oilsands at Quebec conference
Mayor Don Scott and some members of council are heading to Quebec with the hopes of speaking to as many people as possible about the Wood Buffalo region and energy projects.
“It’s all about relationship building from my perspective,” said Scott. “We are going to spend a lot of time shaking hands, talking to people, explaining what’s going on in this region and take every opportunity to meet everybody we can.”
The trip is for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities taking place in Quebec City from May 31 to June 2. More than 2,000 delegates from municipalities across Canada are expected to take part in the conference.
Councillors Mike Allen, Krista Balsom, Sheila Lalonde, Verna Murphy, Jeff Peddle and Claris Voyageur will also be attending.
Scott said he wants to talk about energy projects and voice his support for hydro projects in Quebec.
“I want to see the people of Quebec succeed and I’m also going to explain about the importance of energy infrastructure in the west,” he said. “There’s energy projects all across Canada and we want to make sure that everybody understands the importance of the energy infrastructure happening in this region.”
The trip comes as other Alberta municipalities, such as Medicine Hat, boycott the conference over comments made about the oil and gas industry by Quebec politicians.
In December, Quebec Premier François Legault spoke out against the west, saying there was “no social acceptability” in Quebec for a “dirty energy” pipeline from Alberta.
The comments were made after New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said he hoped a pipeline connecting the oilsands to refineries in New Brunswick would be built one day.
“You begin every relationship with a discussion,” said Scott. “I’m going to reach out a hand of friendship, talk to as many people as I can and talk to them about the great things that are happening in Alberta and in particular in our region.”
Scott said it can be challenging when people talk about the region before ever visiting. He said he wants to take the opportunity to invite people to see the region first-hand.
“One of the most important things from my perspective is shedding some light on what’s happening in this region, what this region’s all about,” he said. “When people realize what’s happening in this region, their thought about it changes significantly. So to me it’s really important that people not only talk about this region, but they have a good understanding of it.”
The municipality plans to host a hospitality suite, with invites being sent out to everybody attending the conference, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Scott has yet to hear if Trudeau will be attending the hospitality suite, but did say he has continued to speak with Trudeau’s staff about ongoing concerns regarding bills C-48 and C-69. Scott also said some of his colleagues were able to meet with Trudeau during a trip to Ottawa a couple weeks ago.
In April, Scott told the Senate Committee on Transportation and communications that Bill C-48 was a “disastrous” initiative and that it was a “systematic attack on the oilsands.”
Earlier this month, the Senate’s transportation and communications committee rejected the bill, although this does not mean the bill is dead, as the Senate must still vote on the legislation.
Earlier in the month, Scott also spoke to the Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment, warning them that as is, Bill C-69 could delay energy projects and have businesses and the oil industry looking elsewhere for investments.