The Prime Minister's Office delivered the following letter from Rachel Notley to CBC News before the announcement Sunday night.
My fellow Albertians, your energy resources – the natural heritage of every person in this province – are sold next to nothing.
One has to make a decision, one with real repercussions for working people and our entire economy. I want to take this opportunity to ask the problem with Alberta and the choice before us.
First, let's look at the problem we are facing. We are in a position where we can not transfer our oil because the government, after the Ottawa government, has failed to build oil pipelines. Existing pipelines are full. Record quantities of oil are sent by rail, but nowhere is enough to reduce the backlog. As a result, more oil is in a warehouse than ever before: it's worth 35 million barrels.
With so much oil that just sits there, it can not be moved, sold at a price of fire, about $ 10 a barrel. Other petroleum products around the world are sold five, six times more. It is absurd, economically dangerous, and can not be allowed to continue.
The long-term response is the construction of new pipelines, for which we will continue to fight. We also increase the capacity for upgrading and refining here in Alberta, and we took bold action to get thousands of rail vehicles to dramatically increase the amount of oil we send by rail, but none of these solutions will contribute to ease in the short term.
We need to do more and do it now.
There are two competing attitudes about how we overcome this problem. No choice is no loss.
The first is to free the free market. The thinking is that companies will have to make decisions about what they can produce on the basis of what they can sell. Some of the larger companies, companies that are both manufacturers and refiners, can still work with profit, even at these low prices. Many companies, however, are not and will be forced to sell at a loss for as long as they can manage. Some people have already had to leave people, and no doubt there will be more. Some will probably close the doors.
The second view of how we fix this is for us to intervene and temporarily limit the production of oil, by reducing the production industry throughout. That limitation will remain in place until reserves are withdrawn, the price gap closes and bleeding stops.
My political colleagues both in the Alberta Party and the UCP have published their views on this issue and I want to thank them for their contribution to this discussion. Both Mr Mandel of the Alberta Party and Mr Kenny of the UCP called for a reduction in production.
While it seems that consensus is being formed in some political leaders, there is no such consensus in the industry. At this point, no consensus is expected in the industry.
So, Alberta, comes down to what's best for us, all 4.3 million of us, the owners of our oil resources. As owners, we have an obligation to get the most value.
This is a big decision with great implications. We need to be smart. Therefore, for weeks, we are in detailed discussions with everyone involved, and we have sought expert advice from many quarters. The work is approaching.
There are good jobs and works in -Alberta businesses in question. This is more than the screen numbers or economists who speak. These are working people, people with excellent skills, who made Alberta the best place in Canada to live.
Our decision will be announced on Sunday. It's one of the most difficult decisions we will make as a province, but I promise you this: your jobs, your children and your futures will remain our absolute focus.
Regardless, I will not stop fighting for you.
The PSC will publish Notley's notice Facebook and online Sunday at 6 o'clock. MT.