The federal government unveiled the outline of their “Just Transition”, or as it is now called, “Sustainable Jobs Plan”, in February. The plan, an interim one for 2023-25, details what the federal government will do as the country moves to a net-zero emissions economy.
“Ultimately, it doesn’t talk at all about any aspect of what jobs they’re looking at and creating, and how would it impact our energy sector, or our oil and gas and our coal miners here in Souris-Moose Mountain, and so that’s very disappointing,” said Souris-Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen.
Kitchen pointed out that the plan is just that, a plan, with nothing concrete included on what the federal government plans to do in terms of creating jobs, or transitioning jobs from sectors such as oil and gas to other energy sector jobs that are considered to be low carbon.
“What we were hoping is that what they were going to present, rather than kicking things down the road, is what they are proposing for our coal miners and for our energy sector and our oil and gas and how we move forward on that, but this document doesn’t do any of that,” Kitchen said in terms of what he was hoping to see in the document. “It basically creates a number of new groups to study and do more studies. It talks about all the things they believe they’ve done.”
He added that there is nothing progressive beyond that.
“Are they just transitioning from a job that is being done today and re-purposing it and calling it a new name, dealing with electric components, and then calling that ‘We created a job’ when in reality all they’ve done is rename a job?” he asked?
The proposals as outlined by the federal government did mention two specific industries in southeast Saskatchewan – the oil and gas sector, and coal-fired power generation. The proposal outlines that the plan is to move away from combustion applications for oil and gas and move to non-combustion applications, for which there will still be a need. This includes things like solvents, lubricants and petrochemicals. For coal-fired power generation, the proposal specifically mentions phasing out unabated coal-fired power generation, which means using coal to generate electricity without having carbon capture, utilization and storage fitted into the facility. Currently, Boundary Dam has CCUS technology in place.
However, Kitchen, who is a member of the opposition Conservative Party, didn’t feel that was properly addressed in the document when it comes to the use of oil and gas.
“I think they are well aware that we’re going to need that for 50-plus years. The trouble is, they don’t want to say that, and so the document goes around every which way to do it without saying it.”
Kitchen has a plan to keep an eye on how this progresses, going from a proposal to legislation in the coming weeks and months.
“I’ve got to make certain that my staff and I are on top of this and we are aware of when it all of a sudden comes forward, and then to see if and when they do put forward some legislation, does it actually have any teeth in it. Does it talk about putting boots on the ground instead of recreating study groups and advisory groups that basically are not the people that are being impacted by this?” Kitchen queried.
The federal government has stated they plan on introducing the legislation at some point this year.