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“Today’s announcement by Teck to withdraw its application for approval of the Frontier project, only days before the federal cabinet was set to decide whether to approve or reject it, is a grave disappointment to Albertans. Alberta has lost the opportunity for 7,000 jobs and Canada has lost the opportunity for $70 billion of dollars in new tax and royalty revenue that could have funded our generous social services over the next four decades. The project would also have produced oil cleaner than half the barrels in North America.
“Teck’s decision is disappointing, but in light of the events of the last few weeks it is not surprising. It is what happens when governments lack the courage to defend the interests of Canadians in the face of a militant minority. The timing of the decision is not a coincidence. This was an economically viable project, as the company confirmed this week, for which the company was advocating earlier this week, so something clearly changed very recently.
“Weeks of federal indecision on the regulatory approval process and inaction in the face of illegal blockades have created more uncertainty for investors looking at Canada. Teck’s predicament shows that even when a company spends more than $1 billion over a decade to satisfy every regulatory requirement, a regulatory process that values politics over evidence and the erosion of the rule of law will be fatal to investor confidence.
“Today’s announcement must be especially disappointing for all fourteen of the proximate First Nations who have called on the government to approve the Frontier project. In the last 48 hours, the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation both signed historic agreements with the Government of Alberta, which would have made them partners in the prosperity of the Frontier project, bringing hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars to their remote communities.
“The Government of Alberta believes that partnership in resource development is one of the most promising paths to reconciliation, and this week’s agreements with the Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation show how it can be done. Those agreements should have been models for the rest of Canada, but that can only be possible if resource projects are actually approved and built. As long as the federal government undermines confidence in the future of our resource sectors, that path to economic reconciliation will be shut off.
“The factors that led to today's decision further weaken national unity. The Government of Alberta agreed to every request and condition raised by the federal government for approving the Frontier project, including protecting bison and caribou habitat, regulation of oilsands emissions, and securing full Indigenous support. The Government of Alberta repeatedly asked what more we could do to smooth the approval process. We did our part, but the federal government's inability to convey a clear or unified position let us, and Teck, down.
“This news deepens our government's resolve to use every tool available to fight for greater control and autonomy for Alberta within Canada, including reinforcing our constitutional right to develop our natural resources, ensuring a sustainable future for our oil and gas industries, and restoring Canada’s reputation as a reliable place to do business."
*Editor's note: Previous version contained an error.