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Calgary Chamber of Commerce Speech 2017

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Hello everyone.

Thank you, Ian, for that kind introduction.

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge we are gathered here today on the traditional territory of the signatories of Treaty 7.

I would also like to acknowledge the Métis people of Alberta, who share a deep connection with this land.

So, I spent the earlier part of the week out in Ontario, you know, the home of those Eastern Bastards.

And no, I’m not referring to the fine people who call that part of our country home.

I’m referring those soon to be trampled Toronto Argonauts.

I know its November, but I don’t care - Sunday’s a good a day as any to do a little stampeding.

What do you all say?

And to all of you out there right now thinking, please, please, please, don’t pepper this whole talk with football language…

Well, no promises…

Anyway, let’s get this speech kicked-off.


All joking aside, I join you today with a specific purpose in mind.

We all know that there is no better place to live than in Alberta.

Our mountains, our prairies skies, our urban and rural landscapes are second to none.

But there is one thing we don’t have in Alberta:  a coastline.

And that, as it turns out, is a big problem.

For generations this geographic reality has been an obstacle for Alberta to realize its full potential – and for Canada as well.

As you all know well, it’s meant that we are dependent on one customer at one price for our most important commodity.

Though we welcome the progress made earlier this week on getting Keystone XL going, a project that’s good for industry here in Alberta and a project that has our full support…

That pipeline doesn’t help us solve a key problem…

…The urgent need to diversify our export markets and get a better price for our resources.

To do that, we need a Canadian pipeline built to a Canadian coast.

And that’s my focus – getting a better return for Albertans and Canadians.

Since day one, my government has worked to achieve this goal.

And we’ve partnered with industry, workers and communities to fundamentally change our approach.

It hasn’t always been easy, but together we have made significant progress.

We set aside the battles of the past and got down to work addressing the concerns and issues that stood in our way.

In particular, we worked with industry to bring forward Canada’s most far-reaching plan to tackle climate change…

…a plan that put’s Alberta in the lead on an issue that is important to us and all Canadians.

That climate leadership plan is now at the core of Canada’s national plan.

And in November 2016, that plan led to the federal government’s approval to twin the Trans-Mountain Pipeline…

…an historic accomplishment for which all credit goes to the people of Alberta and Alberta’s energy industry.

Of course, at the time we knew that wasn’t the end of the story.

Despite the fact that Alberta’s energy industry is the cleanest and safest in the world, there are still those who want to stop us from breaking the land lock and diversifying our markets.

We’re not going to let them.

We’ve intervened in court cases brought against the Trans-Mountain project.

We’ve taken our case directly to British Columbians…

And I will again next week.

 We have kept the pressure on the federal government.

And everywhere I’ve travelled - everywhere our ministers and MLAs have gone - we’ve relentlessly made the case for this pipeline.

I know you have too.

As a result we are closer than ever – at the one-yard line.

But I need your help.

And that’s why I asked to speak to you today.

To ask all of you to join the fight to get to get this pipeline built – for the future of our province and the future of our country.

But before I get into all of that, I would be remiss if I didn’t use this opportunity to express my thanks and gratitude to all of you.

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce is a driving force behind the economic recovery that’s now underway in our province.

We’ve just been through the worst economic downturn since the 1930s.

The people in this room saw its impact up close.

You felt it.  It was personal.

But Calgary never gives up. 

This city has proven time and again that its pioneer spirit doesn’t break…

…it gets stronger and more creative.

Just look at the bid process for the new Amazon HQ2.

It’s a textbook example of cooperation across the public and private sector, using creative ideas, cheeky messaging, and relentless optimism…

All of which is grounded in hard work and determination.

This is the city that Calgarians continue to build.

An optimistic, confident, forward-looking city…

…The kind of city that people from all around the country and the world want to move to and be part of. 

And the Chamber is at the very centre of it all.

It’s in large part because of you that things are starting to look up.

We’re not there yet.

People here in Calgary and around Alberta are still feeling the pain.

But there are positive signs.

RBC had to up their growth forecast for Alberta to over 4%...

And just two days ago, the Conference board of Canada upped their forecast to nearly 7% growth...

Exports are up…

manufacturing is up,

retail sales are up,

small business confidence is up.

In fact, almost every indicator that should be up is up.

But you and I both know that what counts most for families are good jobs and economic security.

There’s a ways yet to go on jobs…

…and a ways yet to go on making sure families have the security they need and deserve…

…but we’re making good progress.

Since last June, Alberta has added more than 70,000 new, full-time jobs.

And there’s no way we’re stopping there.

We’re going to keep working with all of you to help create good jobs for people.


To Adam Legge, I want to say a special thank you.

Adam, I understand this is your last big event with the Chamber before you head off to a new post at the University of Calgary.

Under your leadership, the Chamber has become a force in the city.

And in so many areas we worked together to do things that help make life better for people and families in Calgary.

So, to you and to the entire Calgary Chamber…

for everything you’ve done to help this city and its citizens…

With all of my heart, thank you.



As I said, earlier this week I traveled to Toronto and to Ottawa to make our case for pipelines.

I spoke very directly on the issue.

I told audiences of business, labour and community leaders that Alberta’s energy industry drives our national economy and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country…

…And that the financial contribution Alberta makes to fellow citizens in other provinces in enormous.

Even after the effects of the recession, Alberta is the largest net fiscal contributor to the rest of the country.

All in, we send nearly $22 billion per year more to Ottawa than we receive in return.

And I reminded them that there is not a school, hospital, road, bus or port…

…that’s right, a port…

…that doesn’t owe something to a strong Alberta energy industry.

I told them that it’s not only about fiscal transfers, it’s also about the Canadians who flock from across the country to work here in our resource sector…

…Canadians looking for good jobs with good paychecks…

…paychecks that often end up being spent at the businesses of their home provinces…

…with tax dollars that get collected there.

I told them that for Canada to have a more stable and secure economic future, we need to be able to sell our energy to more than one client.

And to do that we need to build a pipeline to the ocean.

…That is just makes common sense to get our oil off rail and into modern, well-regulated, well-designed and closely-supervised pipelines.

I also addressed their genuine concerns about climate change…

Concerns that cut across generations, from Canadian kids to Canadian grandparents.

I take those concerns very seriously.

And I know you do to.

Like all Canadians, Albertans care deeply about our environment and our climate.

We all want – and must – do right by future generations.

And though some argue that we can build our energy industry for the future and ignore climate change, we know that is just a fantasy.

The world is changing fast.

A lower-carbon future is coming.

We can either lead…

..or be left in the dust.

That’s why working with industry, Alberta has taken the lead on climate change.

Our plan is the most comprehensive in North America.

We have introduced an economy-wide price on carbon to promote lower emissions.

We are eliminating coal pollution, pollution that’s bad for our air, our health and our productivity.

We are introducing an industrial and domestic energy efficiency program to reduce waste and pollution.

And, let me emphasize this, we have placed a hard cap on emissions.

This is very important for all Canadians to understand.

It addresses head-on a central concern voiced by many Canadians.

Because Alberta has capped oil sands emissions, a new pipeline to tidewater does not – does not – increase carbon emissions.

The only things the pipeline contributes to is more economic prosperity for working Canadians in a stronger, more resilient economy.

As the premier of the province - armed with these facts - I am carrying a very simple message to all Canadians.

If you care you care about the climate.

If you care about jobs and working people.

If you care about building a society where everyone matters.

If you care about building a national economy that can compete and win in the global marketplace.

If you care about these things like I do – like we all do -- and still want to keep Alberta land-locked and stop us from diversifying our markets, then please…

…Listen to what Albertans – Albertans from all walks of life -- are saying.

And this message applies to our federal parties as well.

To them, I said – and continue to say -- this:

In Alberta building a new pipeline transcends partisan politics.

It’s about getting a better deal for Alberta and for Canada – a national endeavor.

It’s about acknowledging that Canada’s largest energy producer is also its most forward-looking.

It’s about Alberta’s place in Confederation and our contribution the country we all love.

The choice isn’t whether or not the world will need oil for some time yet.

The choice is whether that oil will come from a responsible, progressive and forward-looking energy producer like Alberta…

….or from somewhere with no standards to speak of, like Russia.

In short, I said smarten up, listen up and stand up.

To the Federal NDP I said you can’t write working people and their jobs out of climate action. You need to start writing them in.

So please, smarten up.

To the Conservatives – in Ottawa and here at home – I said listen up.  

You can’t build walls around Alberta and only talk to yourself.

Whenever someone mentions climate change, you can’t cross your arms, turn your backs and expect to build a cross-country consensus.

Canadians are concerned about this and they need to be listened to.

To the federal Liberals I said – and say again today – you have got to step up.

First the NEB’s decision to include downstream emissions in evaluating pipeline proposals, like Energy East, is an historic overreach – something no other industry is subject to.

It should not – in cannot – be a precedent that applies to future projects.

Second, on Trans-Mountain:

The project is in the national interest.

That’s why it got approved.

Canadians support that decision.

It comes with a far-reaching federal plan to address concerns about safety in our coastal waters – one the federal government should be very proud of.

But the efforts of local council to frustrate the national government’s decision that was made in the national interest must be met head on.

Now, more than ever, Canadians need our national government to articulate and defend the national interest.

Next week, I’m taking this message to British Columbia, speaking to the Vancouver Board of Trade.

Yes, there will be disagreements.

But I’ll tell you what there won’t be, at least not from me.

There won’t be cheap shots or grandstanding…

And there won’t be misleading information or name-calling.

BC and Alberta share deep ties.

Our economies are linked and so are our cultures.

Over the holidays, there will be families travelling from BC to visit their loved ones here in Alberta…

And there will be families from Alberta travelling to visit loved ones there.

All of us want good jobs, a clean environment, and opportunities for our kids and grandkids.

British Columbians have legitimate questions about this project and they deserve legitimate answers.

They deserve to know the project is safe and deserve the best protection for Canada’s marine coast.

I know we can have a thoughtful and constructive conversation.

That’s how we Canadians work through issues – together.

And there is so much we can do together.

Rather than threatening one another, retreating within our borders, building walls, and fighting with each for diminishing economic returns…

We can align our efforts, build infrastructure that connects us, and forge a stronger economic unit, one that thinks strategically and competes internationally.

I know what kind of Canada I want to leave for our children and grandchildren.

And I know that Canada is worth fighting for.

And if you do as well, I need your help…

On this issue, I am asking you to come together as Albertans, all pulling in the same direction.

Whatever our political leanings - Conservative, NDP, Alberta Party, Liberal, independent – this is about our common future. 

And it’s bigger than any party label.

As business leaders, your voice matters.

When you talk about climate action…

…when you talk about pipeline safety…

…when you talk about the importance of our energy industry to the national economy…

…when you make the argument that a strong economy and a clean environment can, and must go hand in hand…

…people listen. 

So make your voices heard.

Be loud and proud.

On social media, in newspaper op-eds, the next time you give a speech to shareholders…

Wherever and whenever you can find an audience…

Tell people that we care about climate change and has the most comprehensive plan in North America.

Tell people that we have the cleanest, safest energy industry in the world.

Tell people that for generations we’ve used our resources to build one of the world’s great democratic societies – an open, inclusive province full of hope and opportunity.

And tell them it’s time to get the safe, modern energy infrastructure we need built.

And built now.

This is so critical.

The moderate majority risks being shouted over.

And we can’t let that happen

So if you need any help…

or have a good idea…

…my cabinet, my caucus, the government of Alberta…stands with you…and we will do everything we can to support you and to work with you.


We can do this.

We can do this because this is Alberta…

And working together, Albertans can achieve anything.

I want to end on an anecdote I told folks yesterday at the AUMA conference.

While speaking with reporters in Ontario, earlier this week…

….I was asked if the economic downturn and the hold-ups on pipelines were generating angry, reactive responses from Albertans.

I didn’t like the implication of that question.

What I said to the reporter was they didn’t know today’s Alberta.

Today’s Alberta is young, innovative and determined.

And to the rest of you, you’re aging beautifully.

We’re the best educated and most highly skilled people in Canada.

We’re courageous, we’re optimistic and we are part of an inclusive, diverse and dynamic province.

I see that looking out at you all here today.

And I saw it yesterday at AUMA, a younger and more diverse group of people than it’s been in the past.

My friends,

The future is Alberta’s.

Our best isn’t behind us.

It’s ahead of us.

And it’s in us.

It’s in the oil sands workers who opened their arms and camps to their neighbours and fellow Albertans during the Wood Buffalo wildfires.

It’s in the trail-blazing research happening at the University for Calgary, research that holds the promise of a cure for MS, Diabetes and many other diseases.

It’s in the waitress on Jasper Avenue, a young woman training to be a nurse, who after Edmonton’s recent brush with terror put down everything to help a stranger lying on the street.

It’s in the high school students in Red Deer who stood up to lies and racism and defended their classmates.

And it’s in all of you: the businesses you run, the people you work with, the economy you’re fueling, and the unmovable pride we have for this province.

My friends,

Working together, we can chart a better course forward for Albertans.

We can build on our past and embrace our future.

We can build a prosperous economy with good jobs for working families.

We can have a functioning national economy — that is capable of making decisions.

We can step back from extreme positions, and reach solutions together.

Each and every one of you can help make it happen.

So please do.

The time to speak up is now.

Thank you again for inviting me here to speak, and for taking the time to listen.

I couldn’t ask for better partners in the journey that lies ahead.

Thank you.