The Montreal Economic Institute says the Quebec government should seize the hand extended to the province by Jason Kenney on Tuesday night after he won a majority government in Alberta.
“Alberta’s economic circumstances make the passage of Western Canadian oil on our territory more imperative than ever. Not only is it the preferred oil of Quebecers, but access to new markets is in the best economic interests of Canada,” said Michel Kelly-Gagnon, president and CEO of the institute, in a news release on Wednesday.
“The research that we have conducted over the past decade and the results of scientific polls show that the Quebec government must seize this outstretched hand.”
The institute, an independent public policy think-tank, said Kenney extended a hand to Quebec in his victory speech and urged the province not to hinder the development of Alberta’s energy sector.
“Quebec should work constructively in order to improve the country’s economic conditions, which notably includes the development of the energy potential of Western Canada. This would reflect the will of Quebecers, expressed multiple times in the context of Leger polls carried out on behalf of the MEI,” said the institute.
It pointed to a poll released in December showing that 66 per cent of Quebecers favoured Western Canadian oil, versus just seven per cent who preferred to import oil from the United States, followed by Algeria (three per cent), Nigeria (one per cent), and the countries of the Middle East (one per cent). Also, 45 per cent of Quebecers think that pipelines are the safest means of transporting oil, far ahead of the other options.
“Quebec has benefited from the federal equalization program since its introduction in 1957. For decades, Alberta has been a significant contributor to this program. However, Alberta’s economy has deteriorated considerably in recent years, which makes the sums paid to Quebec harder for many Canadians to swallow,” said the institute.
“Moreover, the development of the Alberta energy sector’s full potential, which passes through access to new markets in Asia and Europe, would entail numerous benefits for the Canadian economy. The sale of Western Canadian oil at international market prices would generate additional tax revenues for the federal government and contribute to the creation of quality jobs, both in Alberta and all along the pipeline supply chain, which includes several Quebec companies. Finally, when the Alberta energy sector is humming, it is a source of direct quality jobs for many Quebec workers.”
– Mario Toneguzzi