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Alberta energy sector number one issue ahead of provincial election

The industry would much rather see Jason Kenney take command of the province.

The struggling Albertan oil and gas industry remains a key issue in the provinces upcoming election as the industry lauds Jason Kenney and the UCP.

As the campaign enters its second week, the energy sector remains a hot topic as both Premier Rachel Notley and UCP leader Jason Kenney claim to be the greater supporter of Alberta’s principal industry.

The industry, however, would much rather see Kenney take command of the province.

“A Kenney government would be very strongly welcomed by the oil industry,” said Rafi Tahmazian, a senior portfolio manager specializing in energy investing at Canoe Financial.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) estimates that Canada has lost an average of $14 billion a year in investment since the oil price crash in 2014.

Notley, who has been premier since 2015, has failed to get any new pipelines built — overseeing an overall decline in the energy sector.

According to CAPP’s estimates, energy contributes around 30% of Alberta’s economy and about 15% of the GDP of Canada.

On Friday Kenney announced that his government would dedicate $30 million to combat attacks on the energy sector by foreign special interests groups.

$10 million of this funding will be dedicated to a litigation fund for First Nations in Alberta to use to defend their resource rights.

Meanwhile, the NDP has toted the success of their “Keep Canada Working” campaign in raising public support for the energy sector.

Notley has also remained firm on her commitment to a carbon tax, despite the obvious harm it is causing the oil and gas industry.

Although she attributed a carbon tax as necessary to get the “social licence” for pipelines, the Notley government has not seen any pipelines come into fruition.

Notley recently came out saying she will oppose the carbon tax unless the federal government helps her get pipelines approved and built.

Kenney has pledged to scrap the provincial carbon tax and fight the new federal carbon tax which came into effect this year.

The UCP currently has held a massive lead of the governing NDP, with the most recent poll by Mainstreet reporting a 14 point lead for the UCP.

CBC Poll Tracker gives the UCP a >99% chance of victory based on current polls.

The Alberta general election will be held on Tuesday, April 16.

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