If Left Wins in Alberta, Who Will Care for Interests of 'Sensitive' Tar Sands Industry?

The fossil fuel industry is bracing for what one news outlet called “a potentially massive political shift to the left,” as voters in Alberta—also known as Ground Zero for Canadian tar sands—head to the polls on Tuesday.

Surveys in advance of the provincial election showed the left-leaning New Democrat Party (NDP), led by former union activist and lawyer Rachel Notley, leading both the right-wing Wildrose party as well as the Progressive Conservatives, or Tories, who have ruled Alberta for more than 40 years.

“Now that the campaign is almost over, it appears the NDP are headed for a truly historic victory, almost as historic as the rout the 40-year Alberta Tory dynasty appears to face,” said Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff, whose firm conducted one recent poll.

Should such predictions come to pass, Alberta’s tar sands sector could face higher taxes and a loss of support for major pipeline projects.

According to Reuters, Notley “says she would not lobby on behalf of TransCanada Corp’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline or support building of Enbridge Inc’s Northern Gateway pipeline to link the province’s oil sands with a Pacific port in British Columbia.”

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In addition, the Globe and Mail reports, “The NDP has said it would hike the corporate tax rate to 12 per cent from 10 per cent, a move the Tories resisted in their March budget. The New Democrats said companies should pay more to make sure health care and education are not underfunded.”

And the New Democrats have called for a full review of royalty payments made by oil and gas corporations to the province, in order to ensure “a full and fair return to the people of Alberta for their energy resources.”