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MP Warkentin pushing government to better support energy sector

Grande Prairie—Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin is urging the federal government to take more immediate action when it comes to supporting workers in Canada’s energy sector.

“We need to make sure that energy workers in the Peace Country have jobs to return to following the COVID-19 crisis,” Warkentin says. “The Liberal government promised a package for Canada’s energy sector, in ‘hours’ or ‘days,’ certainly not ‘weeks.’ Canadians need them to do so, now.”

He adds workers have been disproportionately affected by global events and damaging government policy, and says the time has come for the Trudeau Government to deliver on what he believes are promises for support.

Warkentin says the official opposition would also like to see Ottawa provide financial tools to increase liquidity and to recapitalize small and medium oil and gas employers, including credit facilities such as loan guarantees and accounts receivable insurance. He also urges the government to reduce costs by cancelling the carbon tax, which he calls an added cost and barrier to investment.

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“We believe that these actions will save jobs now and create long term prosperity for communities across Canada. We know that if we unleash the opportunities and the innovation in our energy sector Canada will be much better positioned to recover from this economic crisis.”

On Monday, the CEOs of several oil and gas companies used an open letter in the Financial Post to plead for financial help from the federal government. It asked the Prime Minister to introduce a payroll relief program for the Canadian drilling and service rig sector.

“We’re also asking the federal government to purchase our accounts receivable — at a discount. Doing this would give our companies instant cash flow and the federal government could collect these debts at a profit as oil prices recover.”

The companies argue those measures would give the industry a fighting chance to survive while it waits for the construction of pipelines like Line 3, Keystone XL and Trans Mountain and oil prices to recover.

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