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Canada’s Federal Government To Extend $1.2 Billion Lifeline To Alberta

Canada’s federal government will provide a US$1.2-billion (C$1.6-billion) lifeline to Alberta’s energy industry, CTV News reports, adding that most of the funds will be used for “job support.”

The report comes on the heels of protests in Alberta against the lack of oil transport capacity that has seen the price of Canadian crude take a nosedive, hitting not just producers’ bottom lines but their workforce as well.

Ottawa has stopped all new pipeline capacity proposals but one, the Trans Mountain expansion, which, however, is being delayed again and again on strong opposition from British Columbia.

Yet this lack of new pipelines is hitting Canada’s oil province hard. About a thousand people gathered for a protest outside the Calgary city hall yesterday, with the mayor of the city joining the protesters.

“Our unemployment went from one of the lowest in Canada to one of the highest,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said, adding, “Yes, climate change is real. Yes, climate change is happening.  You should not take a non-renewable resource and sell it at a giant discount.”

Another 1,500 people gathered to rally in support of more pipelines in Grande Prairie, in northwestern Alberta on Monday as well. That rally was organized by two pro-oil industry groups, Oilfield Dads and Rally4Resources.

"We aren't just a monumental cash cow for the government. We provide opportunities for families across the country," a pro-oil activist, Bernard Hancock, said at the rally, as quoted by CBC. "It puts chicken in the pot in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. It puts a roast in the oven in Miramichi, New Brunswick. It puts tortiere on the fork in Granby, Quebec. And it puts tofu on the table in Toronto and Vancouver!"

Pipeline shortages caused a slump of Western Canadian Select to West Texas Intermediate to as much as US$50 a barrel before Alberta Premier Rachel Notley enforced a production cut of over 300,000 bpd, effective January. Now, the discount has shrunk but not enough, according to the protesters.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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