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Alberta premier won’t commit to sovereignty act to rebut feds’ ‘just transition’ plan

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Premier Danielle Smith won’t commit to using Alberta’s controversial sovereignty act to rebut looming federal “just transition” legislation, which she calls an existential threat to her province’s bedrock oil and gas industry.

Smith says there are still unanswered questions and other options to address the federal proposal, but Alberta won’t allow its oil and gas industry to be phased out of existence.

She says Alberta is on board with reducing greenhouse gas emissions but it must be done in a way that allows her province to still meet the needs of global energy demand.

Smith has long accused Ottawa of interfering with Alberta’s resource development, and last month her government passed a constitutionally questionable sovereignty bill that grants it power to direct agencies to flout federal laws and initiatives deemed to not be in its interests.

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Last week, federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said Ottawa would move ahead this spring with legislation to provide the framework for the transition plan.

Ottawa say the plan is not about shutting down oil and gas but providing a training and incentive blueprint for workers to make a seamless transition as the world moves to a less carbon-intensive economy.

Wilkinson says if anything, the concern will not be a lack of jobs but finding workers to fill the long-term needs in the changing energy landscape.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2023.

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