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CTV News | Alberta Government

Tell the Feds – Fighting for Oil or Fighting the Future?

Is “Tell the Feds” really about expensive and unstable electricity or a way to buy more time for oil and gas?

You’ve probably seen the ads. 

A billboard stating, “ No one wants to pay more for power than they have to.” 

Or the panel on the side of a freight truck, “No one wants to freeze in the dark.” 

No reasonable person would argue with these sentiments, but Danielle Smith’s $8 million ad campaign targets Albertans and people in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia to “Tell the Feds.” 

Tell the Feds what? That’s the question. 

Smith introduced her ad initiative to counter Ottawa’s draft clean electricity regulations, which she claims will make provincial electricity more expensive and less stable.  

In essence, she believes that Ottawa’s idea to transition to clean energy by 2035 is impossible. So she’s trying to get people across Canada so outraged they Tell the Feds that we should delay the transition until 2050 instead. 

Critics see Smith’s ad campaign as catering to Big Oil and rejecting the swift transition to clean energy. 

The history of Danielle Smith’s actions seems to support the critics’ views that extending oil’s future is the main priority of her government. 

A little fear-mongering or a prediction of the future? | tellthefeds.ca

Defending Oil and Gas 

Jason Kenney’s government established the infamous War Room to counter what it perceived as misinformation about the province’s oil and gas industry. One of the first targets of the War Room was the Netflix animated children’s movie Bigfoot Family

The government produced a dedicated website and form letter that asked Netflix to use its “powerful platform to tell the true story of Canada’s oil and gas industry, and not contribute to misinformation targeting your youngest, most vulnerable and impressionable viewers.” 

To date, only 3,577 supporters have filled out the form. 

Next, funding was spent on ad campaigns promoting Alberta’s oil and gas for audiences in the US, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

Then, the war room targeted the city of Nanaimo when the city decided to ban FortisBC’s natural gas hookups in new buildings. 

And now Tell the Feds is targeting jurisdictions across Canada with scare tactics of high power bills and blackouts. 

It’s a low-hanging fruit fear-mongering ad campaign.

The FAQ page from tellthefeds.ca

Forked Tongue, or Just Naive? 

The cornerstone of Smith’s campaign is the claim that transitioning to clean energy by 2035 will make electricity more expensive. However, many independent experts have debunked her claims and have shown that the energy transition will actually save Albertans money

Electricity prices in Canada 2023 | Energy Hub

And if Smith is so concerned about high electricity prices hitting Albertanns in the pocketbook, perhaps she shouldn’t be pointing her finger at Ottawa but instead in the mirror. 

The boogieman for electricity in Alberta is not some federal policy. It’s the province’s deregulated electricity market, which means Albertans are paying the highest electricity rates of any province in Canada.

Talk about ironic. 

Smith’s agenda is clearly to try to stop any limitations on natural gas-fired power plants in Alberta. 

There are proposals to install carbon capture and storage (CCS)  on the smokestacks of natural gas-fired electricity plants to capture the heat-trapping carbon pollution before it gets released into the atmosphere. 

But Smith says carbon capture and storage for natural gas power isn’t doable under the Federal Clean Electricity Rules

That’s strange because she is lobbying Ottawa to get billions from the Feds to try CCS technology on the oil sands. Hmmmm. 

Smith’s Moratorium Busted the Boom

Alberta’s solar and wind energy industry was booming until Premier Smith shut the renewables industry down in a 7-month moratorium

Abandoned wells litter Alberta’s landscape and little is being done to force oil companies to clean up their mess | TheRockies.Life Staff

One of Premier Smith’s main grounds for the moratorium was concern about future cleanup costs of renewable energy projects. 

Meanwhile, orphaned oil and gas wells lay rotting across Alberta, causing environmental damage. 

The estimated cost of cleanup of these orphaned wells is between 100 and 260 billion dollars, and little progress has been made in cleaning up these sites. 

Premier Smith has proposals to give oil and gas companies a ‘royalty holiday’ if they clean up their wells, even though it is already a legal obligation for the oil companies. Huh? 

If paying companies to clean up a mess they are already legally obligated to clean up isn’t an unneeded subsidy, we don’t know what is. 

Alberta’s Maverick Spirit 

While Danielle Smith keeps trying to prop up oil and gas companies that are making billions in profits, other provinces are outpacing us in transitioning away from polluting gas emissions towards cleaner renewables. 

Most provinces have seen a decline in greenhouse gases since 2005, while Alberta has seen an increase of 8.5 percent. 

Not something to be proud of. 

Ironically, Alberta has the resources, the innovation and the will to be a leader in clean energy

We are known for our get ‘er done attitude. 

We can spend our time complaining to the feds, or as Danielle Smith is so fond of saying, “We can do things our way.” 

Rather than looking in the rearview mirror, we should look to develop our bright, clean energy future in Alberta. 

Rather than “Tell the Feds,” we should “Tell Danielle.”

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