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April 15th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 15
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Premier Prentice rolls into town, supports Evan Berger, preaches pipeline
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
PC party hopeful Evan Berger (far left), citizens and members of council greeting Premier Jim Prentice as he arrives at the Coleman Seniors’ Centre on Saturday. Berger and Wildrose MLA Pat Stier are the top two candidates for the Livingstone-Macleod riding after the premier called a provincial election for May 5.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Despite low crude prices, the province’s struggling oilsands industry still needs a pipeline to access the global market said Premier Jim Prentice during a campaign stop at the Coleman Seniors’ Centre on Saturday.
“I’m pushing for a pipeline because it doesn’t matter if prices are low or high, we want to get the best price and that’s the global price,” he said. “We need as much takeaway capacity from our province as possible and that’s why west coast access is so important. There’s still a significant difference between the global price and the North American price and we want to capture that premium.”
Prentice was referring to the two biggest benchmarks for global oil, which are the prices of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil and Brent crude. WTI reflects the price of oil stored in Cushing, Oklahoma, the final destination for American and Canadian crude. Brent crude refers to oil produced in the Brent oil fields and other sites in the North Sea. The Brent price is the benchmark for African, European and Middle Eastern oil, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the world's crude production.
According to Bloomberg Business, WTI crude oil was trading at $52.09 US a barrel on April 13 while Brent crude was trading at $58.22 US a barrel, a $6.13 US premium.
“We can’t continue to ride this rollercoaster. Alberta should not have to watch OPEC meetings on television to decide if we can finish constructing hospitals or hire teachers,” said Prentice. “This is not the way we should be planning our lives financially.”
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Regardless of how oil behaves, Prentice said $80 US per barrel would ensure a return to good economic times for the province.
Prentice also threw his support behind PC candidate hopeful Evan Berger who wants to recapture the Livingstone-Macleod riding after losing it to the Wildrose in the last election.
Berger was born in High River and raised on a ranch in the foothills southwest of Nanton. He began his political career serving as a councillor for the municipal district of Willow Creek.
He first won the Livingstone-Macleod riding in the 2008 provincial election but was defeated in 2012 by Wildrose MLA Pat Stier.
After his defeat Berger was appointed senior policy advisor with the department of agriculture.
Weighing in on several local issues, Prentice said he is aware of AltaLink’s proposal to route power lines through the community, that Riversdale Resources is looking to open a coal mine and he said the Pass needs to diversify its economy.
“One of the reasons I came through Grande Cache and the Crowsnest Pass was to say that the message of diversifying the economy to create jobs is an important one,” he said. “Our coal mining towns have been through the boom-bust cycle more than most Albertans.”
After playing a few games of shuffleboard and stopping by his family home in Coleman, Prentice visited the Lifestyle and Outdoor Adventure Show and reflected on the significance of visiting the Pass.
“It’s a great stop because this is a place I grew up and worked,” said Prentice. “It was great to be here with friends and family. It means a lot to me.”
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April 15th ~ Vol. 85 No. 15
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