With the federal election a week away, Reeve Greg Sawchuk is among the many local leaders keeping a close eye on the polls in anticipation of October 21.
Sawchuk began Wednesday’s M.D. council meeting by expressing concern about the future if the development of oil continues to drag on with a new government.
“This federal election, whether we like it or not, is probably one of the most important when it comes to Alberta in probably our lifetimes. As a spokesperson for the MD, I’m concerned. I know that oil is vitally important to the M.D. Eighty per cent of our revenue comes from a number of companies who are involved there. A further 10 per cent of that comes from the businesses that support the oil industry,” said Sawchuk on The Morning After.
Sawchuk roughly estimated that if a government is elected that does not support oil and gas development, the M.D. could lose 50 per cent of its revenue in the next ten years.
He responded to the federal leader’s debate last Tuesday and noted that the Trans Mountain pipeline was scarcely mentioned, while four party leaders spoke negatively of the energy sector, a continued downtown since 2014.
“This area has not seen an uptick in any business. We’ve seen people go bankrupt. We’ve seen businesses leave, we’ve seen people leave.
“When I see four parties that are directly attacking our area, yeah, I’m going to say something about it. And that’s what I did.”
The Lakeland region has been represented in the fight to support the oil and gas sector.
Local leaders spoke in front of the Senate committee protesting Bill C-69 and Mayor Gene Sobolewski went to the House of Commons with Cold Lake city councillor, Bob Buckle.
During the Federal Coalition of Municipalities conference, M.D. of Bonnyville, Cold Lake, and Bonnyville representatives spread the word with their “We love oil and gas” t-shirts.
“We have truly a good news story out here. We do have the most environmentally friendly oil production in the world. I don’t think that story has gotten even across Canada. And that’s why we’re in the boat we’re in right now. When you see the national media still portraying our oil business as a large black pit, it’s completely untrue.
“For our country to turn their back on resources and these counties are awash in natural resources. And so in this national campaign from these parties, we’re hearing nothing about resource development. And that’s troubling for a country that’s rich.”