MP urges government to support oil and gas industry

The local MP is urging the federal government to introduce measures to support those affected by a slowdown in the oil and gas industry.

John Barlow, MP?for Foothills, appeared as a delegation at the Jan. 13 meeting of the council of the Municipal District of Willow Creek to discuss issues and answer questions.
Source:nantonnews     Time:27 Jan 2016

The local MP is urging the federal government to introduce measures to support those affected by a slowdown in the oil and gas industry.

John Barlow, MP?for Foothills, appeared as a delegation at the Jan. 13 meeting of the council of the Municipal District of Willow Creek to discuss issues and answer questions.

Cynthia Vizzutti, the MD’s chief administrative officer, asked Barlow if he had any idea what the federal government was going to do to address falling oil prices.

“Uh – no,”?Barlow responded. “That’s my short answer.”

He said it is tough to see provincial and federal governments not treat this issue as a priority.

He pointed out oil and gas is a $130 billion industry. The auto sector is the next largest at about $60 billion.

“We’re at a crisis, or very close to a crisis,”?Barlow said.

“There are too many unknowns,” he continued, alluding to uncertainty created by a royalty review, and whether the federal government will or won’t introduce a carbon tax.

“The oil price is not scaring them away, it’s the unknowns that’s scaring them away,”?he said.

Barlow urged the government to work with the provinces to get the Energy East and Kinder Morgan pipelines done.

At the federal level, discussion can also be quashed around introducing a carbon tax and increasing corporate taxes.

Reeve Neil Wilson asked what happens when employment insurance benefits run out.

Barlow replied traditionally programs are not added, but the federal government did extend benefits in 2008 to deal with an economic downturn.

He said he will push for that again, and added it is the small companies that really suffer.

“It’s going to have huge social consequences within our smaller towns,”?Wilson said.

Vizzutti added this year was the first time in 30 years oil and gas companies have defaulted on their municipal taxes.

Barlow was also asked about the Trans Pacific Partnership, and whether the new federal government will still support it.

He responded the government has been meeting with people, pointing out the minister was in Alberta recently meeting with representatives of Alberta Beef Producers and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

“I’m hopeful they will follow through,”?Barlow said, adding the agreement will be debated in the House of Commons.

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