October 11, 2023

Remarks at Come Clean on Clean Energy Press Conference

Calgary, AB

10:00 A.M. MST

GEORGE CHAHAL, M.P.: Hello everyone.  

Thank you for joining us today on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy, the Tsuut’ina, the Iyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation, and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.

My name is George Chahal, the Member of Parliament for Calgary-Skyview.

I am also the chair of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources at Parliament in Ottawa.  

I called this press conference today, to send a message to Premier Smith loud and clear:  

Premier Smith, it is time you come clean on clean energy in Alberta.

As a proud Albertan, I know our province is the energy powerhouse of Canada.  

That means fossil fuels, of course yes, but it also means clean technologies and renewable energy projects.  

A diverse energy portfolio is what makes this economy hum.  

From the $700 million solar farm in Vulcan Country, the largest in Canada, to the multibillion-dollar industrial Heartland value-add energy cluster located near Edmonton, to the world-leading Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre right here in Calgary…

Our province is reaping the rewards of a liberalized energy market, and for welcoming investment in projects that meet the needs of a future when the world will demand energy that is less and less carbon intensive.  

It has also positioned Alberta to be a leader of clean electricity, just as the federal government is working collaboratively to build a clean grid in Alberta, with significant investments on the table and draft Clean Electricity Regulations to back them up.  

Alberta’s success to date makes the actions of Premier Danielle Smith, frankly, shocking.

Over the past number of months, the Premier has actively worked to undermine and misinform Albertans regarding the impacts and the full range of opportunities offered by the clean energy economy, with serious repercussions for our province’s future.  

Building a diversified and clean energy economy in Alberta is expected to create 420,000 jobs across Alberta by 2050.

Labour groups support it.  

Industry groups support it.

And we need our provincial government to take a balanced approach that welcomes these opportunities.

It is high time we demand some basic accountability from this Government, and start putting our economic interests over her partisan and ideological interests.

That is why I am calling on the Premier to do two things:

Number one: Immediately lift the moratorium on renewable energy projects in Alberta.  

The province’s unwarranted and unilateral imposition of a moratorium on new renewable electricity projects has affected 118 projects worth $33 billion of investment in Alberta and created a significant chill on investments.  

The majority of Albertans, almost two-thirds, oppose this moratorium.

The Premier falsely claimed that she was asked to impose the moratorium by the electricity regulators and association of rural municipalities.  

For ideological reasons, Premier Smith is standing in the way of billions of dollars of investment in our province.

She needs to get out of the way and lift the moratorium immediately.  

And the second thing the Premier must do: Stop wasting Alberta taxpayer dollars on a politically motivated misinformation campaign regarding the Clean Electricity Grid.  

This past week, we learned that the provincial government is spending $8 million on advertising to promote misinformation and fear mongering about the clean electricity regulations, part of the federal vision to build a modern, affordable and cleaner electricity grid across Canada.

The publicly funded ads make a number of unfounded claims about the cost of a clean electricity grid and falsely assert that creating a clean grid in 2035 will cause blackouts.  

Proposed federal regulations for a clean energy grid have many flexibilities built in to ensure the reliability of the system, including many ways that natural gas can continue operating in Alberta past 2035.  

She is playing on people’s fears by talking about blackouts.

If the Premier read the draft regulations, she would see they only start to take effect in 2035. This means emissions approach zero closer to 2050.  

That’s because of all the flexibilities that were included.  

She doesn’t mention that, under the regulations, by federal estimates 73 natural gas plants in Alberta would remain in operation in some capacity post-2035.

So she is clearly making baseless claims to advance her political agenda.

And the Premier continues to repeat the ludicrous claim that power plant operators will go to jail for non-compliance with the regulations, because the regulations are created under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, a piece of criminal law.  

Claiming that the federal government intends to imprison power plant operators is dangerous fear mongering and overheated rhetoric.  

Let’s be clear, the federal government is already investing massively to limit the rise in Alberta’s electricity rates. We want success, not failure, for Alberta.

In the last federal budget, our Government put tens of billions on the table to support provinces in building cleaner energy infrastructure.  

Just this past summer, the federal government announced over $300 million in support of 21 Alberta-based solar, wind, battery, and grid modernization projects.

But it is under this UCP Government that electricity rates in Alberta have increased five-fold.

The Premier is using the draft Clean Electricity Regulations as a scapegoat.  

On top of that, the Government of Alberta won’t release taxpayer-funded studies it commissioned in January on cleaning the grid by 2035.

You have to ask why they will not make public the studies and documentation to support their wild claims  attacking the Clean Electricity regulations.

I am told they have not even provided these studies to the federal-provincial working group that is discussing the regulations. Why would that be?

From everyone I have spoken with, the Province is going in the wrong direction.  

They need to be engaged in productive consultation with the federal government to ensure we have good rules in place and the investments to back them up.

Let’s work on building a cleaner electricity grid in Alberta, not a campaign of misinformation.

We must chose to build, not fight.

The premier needs to start putting our economic interest over her own partisan interests and come clean on building clean energy in Alberta.  

Thank you.  


George Chahal, M.P.

The Latest

Stay Updated

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

View All

Statement on Voting in Favour of the Motion on Palestinian Statehood

Read More

Statement on the Future of the Renewable Energy Sector in Alberta

Read More

Statement on the Ongoing Conflict in the Gaza Strip

Read More