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.