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Alberta Politics

Neil Young, the oil sands and shifting political loyalties in Fort McMurray

Pundits from across the country are waxing and waning over comments made by rock n’ roll icon Neil Young about Canada’s oil sands. Mr. Young’s inarticulate criticisms of the oil sands (and comparing Fort McMurray to Hiroshima) have not helped the discussion around the impact of natural resource development in Canada, but he does deserve some credit for raising awareness about high cancer rates in the northern community of Fort Chipewyan.

Oil is a dirty business. And when it spills it can make a big mess. But natural resources drive our economy and the jobs of most people living in Alberta depend on the natural resource sector, either directly or indirectly. How do we reconcile this?

With plans for increased oil sands development and federal and provincial governments focused on promoting pipeline export, a federal by-election to be called within the next six months could increase national attention on the region.

By-election within six months

Fort McMurray-Athabasca Member of Parliament Brian Jean announced last week that he will resign from parliament on January 17.  After ten years as MP for the region and as a quiet government backbencher in Ottawa, it is easy to understand why Mr. Jean decided it was time to move on.

The departure is expected to draw a crowd for the Conservative Party candidate nomination. While the Tories have dominated in previous elections – winning 73% of the vote in the 2011 federal election – some local political watchers are expecting a strong fight from the Liberals.

Could Justin Trudeau-mania put the Liberals in a position to make gains in northern Alberta’s energy capital?

Top Fort Mac Tory has “crossed the floor” to the Liberals 

A prominent Fort McMurray Conservative announced last week that he was switching allegiances to the federal Liberal Party.

In a note on his Facebook page, Jeffery Cromwell, president of the Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo Progressive Conservatives announced that he has left the Conservative Party of Canada and joined the Liberals. Until recently, Mr. Cromwell was a board member of the local federal Conservative electoral district association.

Jeff Cromwell PC Liberal Fort McMurray
A screenshot from Jeffery Cromwell’s Facebook page.

9 replies on “Neil Young, the oil sands and shifting political loyalties in Fort McMurray”

Goodbye Brian…your total input to Fort Chip in it’s effort to highlight the issue of high cancer rates was to suggest it was due to bad record keeping! Thank you so much.
Neil Youngs real contribution to this region will prove to be much more valuable to our region and the future population.
Time for a change. A representative that will force accountability and responsibility from the elected officials.
Facts should trump opinion. And respected science, not industry, should be our guide.

So when you describe Mr Cromwell as president of the FM-WB PCs, you refer to the provincial party, correct? But his announcement is about a change to his federal-level political affiliation?

Just seeking clarity.

Upton Sinclair reconciled Albertan’s dependency with his earlier observation of human nature: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

More proof that their exists no substantial difference between the Libs and the Cons. Vote NDP It is time to put Canadians first.

A possible candidate for the region is powerful chief Rose Laboucan of Driftpile First Nation.
She is respected across the nation. An advocate for women and education with various agencies in alberta and made videos for alberta government and for treaty 8. Long time supporter of the driftpile pow wow. Supported mikisew first nation in supreme court decision victory. Formed waniska energy allliance with onion lake, ermineskin and sucker creek first nations. An important figure in the kelowna accord negotiations, as a result, Prime Minister Paul Martin asked her to run for the Liberals. She politely declined.
She has been a grand chief and she has great influence with the nations of treaty 8, alberta and canada.
A passionate, empowering and vocal leader.
She just may choose to enter federal politics.

@Chris Hooymans I disagree. By that logic, Claude Patry means there is no substantial difference between the NDP and the Bloc.

Still proud that I left the federal CPC and joined the federal Liberal Party of Canada.
The PCAA in Alberta is very different from the CPC. It surprises me that many still try and claim the PC is CPC. The way it’s going, the WRP is closer to the CPC message.

Regardless, I don’t regret the move.

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