PC Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie pens

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PC Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie pens letter to Prime Minister Trudeau
RE: Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Oil and Gas Industry and Need for a Champion in Cabinet
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Office of the Official Opposition
For Immediate Release

 

St. John's, NL (September 16, 2020) – Newfoundland and Labrador is in a terrible crisis. The viability of an industry that has proven capable of driving and sustaining economic growth in our province and accounts for 30% of GDP - the offshore oil industry - has been jeopardized by low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic. For six months workers and industry have waited for our federal cabinet representative to deliver critical support. For six months workers and industry have been dismayed by his failure to deliver.

Norway - a progressive country with a strong environmental record - has wisely chosen to invest in incentives to drive exploration there and sustain economic activity, government revenues and jobs. However, the Hon. Seamus O’Regan has failed to deliver competitive incentives here. The entire summer exploration season has been irrevocably lost. Important projects are shutting down. Thousands of jobs have been lost and may yet be lost, and the revenues that could be sustaining our government services are drying up.

This crisis could have been prevented. However, Minister O’Regan has been wholly ineffective in representing the interests of offshore and construction workers and industry by failing to obtain support for federal government investments that could bring Newfoundland and Labrador out of crisis.

The anguish expressed in recent emails from offshore workers conveys the personal dimension of the peri! more eloquently than could |. From a healthcare worker on the Husky SeaRose FPSO:

Lives are being lost, businesses are closing and long term employees are
being laid off. In Newfoundland and Labrador, people are worried about
what their future holds. In addition to COVID-19, amidst the drop in the
price of crude, the layoffs on the Hibernia Platform and the Terra Nova
FPSO being taken off station, the Husky West White Rose project will
offer a glimmer of hope in an otherwise uncertain world. It is an
opportunity for men and women to put in a hard day’s work, for a good
day's pay. It is an opportunity for individuals to use their creativity and
ingenuity to complete a remarkable structure, which in turn, will
continue to create jobs, revenue and prosperity for years to come.

In this time of uncertainty, Newfoundlanders need stability. The West
White Rose project is a step in the right direction toward ensuring
stability, positivity and prosperity in our beautifully unique province. The
Province of Newfoundland and Labrador needs the West White Rose
Project.

And this from an Information Systems worker:

For the past 17 years, my wife and |, have watched Newfoundland thrive,
largely due to the oil and gas industry and all that it brings to the
province. Currently, we are very uncertain of our future and wondering
what the next steps are.

While still employed, we have begun talking about the possibility of
“what ifs” and having to potentially leave the province. If my company
cannot continue to produce economically in NL, then the writing is on the
wall for us.

From my office window, | can currently see the city dying. So many downtown businesses and restaurants are closing, the panhandlers are increasing, and the roads are becoming very quiet. This is not due to Covid-19. This is due to the oil and gas industry dying within this province. It is so sad, as there is so much oil and gas along our coastline that this province should be a “have province” for at least a few more decades. 10 years ago, | thought | would have no problem working in NL until retirement, however, that is far from true today.

I understand that the world needs to move away from fossil fuels to protect ours and our dependent’s futures, but I am also not naive to think that will happen in the near future.

We should be using our offshore oil and gas developments, to fund our “green” projects, like Muskrat Falls. Support for the industry could gain public opinions support, by explaining how this revenue generation, fuels
this “green” transition.

I am asking for the government’s support in NL Oil and Gas, which I strongly feel is ultimately supportive for the whole province of Newfoundland.

I enclose a copy of the PC Action Plan: Jobs and Growth for our Offshore, which was tabled in the House of Assembly this week. Your government’s implementation of measures contained in the plan would start to answer the anguish of thousands of residents like those whose concerns are quoted above.

Newfoundland and Labrador needs a stronger voice at the federal cabinet table. For invaluable and irreplaceable months, Minister O'Regan has been unable to get the job done, and we are suffering here from his failure to do his job. I submit that it is in the interest of this province and of the country that you appoint someone as federal cabinet representative for Newfoundland and Labrador who will champion the interest of Newfoundland and Labrador workers and industry so that a stronger province can earn its way in the world and contribute to a greater Canada.

Sincerely,

Ches Crosbie, MHA Windsor Lake
Official PC Opposition Leader

 

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