Sir Isaac Newton once remarked that what goes up must come down, but did he consider the opposite is also true? He may not have, as the famous scientist was referring to the law of gravity. Thankfully, the opposite is true when we observe the economy.
It feels like Alberta’s economy has been down forever. The constant barrage of bad news, from job losses to bankruptcies to pipeline delays to a federal government that has been indifferent to our troubles, all contribute to our general malaise. It’s hard to see a way out. It’s hard to be optimistic.
But what goes down does indeed come up. What feels like forever has only been five years, and finally there are some green shoots emerging in our battered economy. This past week, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously rejected a B.C. appeal that sought to give our western neighbour power to regulate and restrict trade from other provinces, such as heavy oil from Alberta. It was a decision tied to the beleaguered expansion of the federal Trans Mountain pipeline, which is currently under construction between Edmonton and Vancouver and which could have suffered if B.C.'s case had been successful.
Meanwhile, TC Energy filed a report in U.S. court this past week indicating it has plans to start pre-construction work on Keystone XL soon, with construction getting underway later this year. That's a project that's set to increase oil capacity by 830,000 barrels per day. Additionally, Enbridge's Line 3 project continues to advance.
Also on tap is a decision on Teck Resources' Frontier oil mine north of Ft. McMurray. Already approved during the regulatory process, it is now awaiting a final decision by the federal cabinet which must be made by the end of February.
Looking elsewhere in our economy, St. Albert-Morinville MLA Dale Nally, the associate minister of natural gas, noted in a social media post that he's optimistic about what the new year holds for LNG investment. The work Nally has been doing to shore up Alberta's natural gas sector has an impact on the St. Albert region with its proximity to the industrial heartland. The economic benefits of a thriving shallow gas industry are immense and will help catapult Alberta out of its current economic recession.
And speaking of the industrial heartland, several billion-dollar petrochemical plants are in the works.
We still have a ways to go before some of these projects come to fruition, but the seeds we have been nurturing may have finally germinated. We're seeing tender green shoots of support for Alberta's oil and gas sector that brings a note of optimism to our province. It gives you a nice warm feeling, even after a record-breaking cold spell this week.