Responsible Energy Development
Energy development is critical for our economy, throughout our province and our country, but especially right here in the Industrial Heartland. We need a Member of Parliament in this area who understands the importance of energy development and who is prepared to advocate for the responsible development of our energy resources. I am that person – I believe in the importance of developing our energy resources; and, I have the experience required to get things done for our area.
When it comes to energy development, I will strongly oppose Liberal and NDP efforts to impose a national carbon tax, and I will support job creation in this vital sector which is fueling our Canadian prosperity. Specifically, I will focus on 2 key areas – increasing value-added production and achieving market access. Progress on these fronts will lead to significant job and opportunity growth, here in Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan and across the country.
Canada has a vast wealth of natural resources. We can maximize the value of those resources if we extract, upgrade, and refine those resources here in Canada. Right here in the Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan riding, we have the infrastructure and the capacity to do a significant amount of value-added work, but there are also regions of higher-unemployment in Canada which could get into the value-added game.
With respect to value-added, we don't need a federal subsidy program. If value-added production is going to succeed and grow in Canada, it needs to be market-driven. However, the federal government could introduce market-based tax incentives to encourage the growth of the sector. In particular, I will advocate for a permanent system of accelerated capital cost allowance for companies who invest in value-added production.
Right now, when a company makes a capital investment, they write off the cost of that capital against their profits, reducing the taxes they pay in that year. If they could, companies would like to write off the cost of capital expenditure as early as possible, because it reduces the taxes they pay. Of course, writing off the cost of capital in one year means that they can’t write it off in a subsequent year. Currently, companies are required to write off capital investments over an extended period of time. From their perspective, companies would rather write off capital investment earlier on, because it allows them to defer taxes to later years and to put the money to work in the mean time.
If we allow energy companies to write off the cost of their capital investment in value-added production earlier on, it will provide them with a significant incentive to make these kinds of investments here in Canada. The government still gets the same amount of tax revenue – in fact, they get more, because the company will pay tax on the profits from their new value-added operations as well. This approach leverages the value of tax deferral for businesses, to help make these important investments happen.
In the Industrial Heartland, we’ve been very very close on a number of key investments in value-added production. I will advocate for new federal incentives to help get these projects over the goal line, creating many new jobs and adding significant property tax revenue for Strathcona County and Fort Saskatchewan.
We are currently not able to get full price for the energy resources we develop. Because we do not have effective access to international markets, Alberta’s oil resources are sold into the discounted American market. This hurts our economy. We need an effective way of selling our oil to Asian and European nations and we need to be able to sell it at world prices. Pipelines are the most effective, and also the most environmentally sound way of transporting our oil resources. The alternative, rail, presents greater risks to the environment, and also makes it harder for our farmers to get their product to market. Importantly, newer pipelines are also much safer than older pipelines, and new projects which expand or alter existing lines provide the opportunity to renew and upgrade our pipeline infrastructure and to improve safety.
As Conservatives, we should care deeply about the environment – and, we should make environmental decisions based on reason, evidence, and the best available science. The science, the need for market access, and the risks associated with rail point clearly to the fact that pipelines are the best way to get our energy to market.
Canada’s first Prime Minister, Conservative John A. MacDonald, understood the importance of nation- building economic infrastructure. He worked hard to build railways 150 years ago that would tie our nation together, socially and economically. We have the opportunity, in this generation, to undertake similar nation-building efforts with respect to energy infrastructure. Supporting pipelines to the coast AND creating tax incentives to encourage value-added production will have an enormously positive effect on our economy. Within a few years, we can be a country where a thriving Alberta and Saskatchewan based extractive and value-added sector feeds an equally thriving value-added and/or energy export economy in BC, Northern Ontario, and the Maritimes through well-built and safe pipelines – and supplying international partners in Europe and Asia with the energy (at world prices) that they need to become less dependent on autocratic nations like Russia and Iran.
Building an integrated national energy economy which boosts every region of this country is a once in a generation opportunity. If elected, I will work to make sure we seize this opportunity. Rather than shutting down our industry, taxing it into oblivion, or blocking necessary market access, I will work with fellow Conservatives to ensure market access and the growth of our value-added sector.