Introductions of Guests – April 19, 2018

The Speaker: Welcome.
The hon. Member for Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater.

Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s a very special day for me today. I’m pleased to introduce to you and through you to all members of the Assembly some of the VIPs in my life: my mother, Valerie Cote, who was, you know, contrary to what people might think, the first NDP member in our family and a great inspiration for me; my stepfather, Alvin Brockman, who is an all-around great guy, and it’s wonderful to have him here; my sister, Andrea Piquette, who is a surprise guest for me today and is welcome. You know, it really means a lot to me that my family is able to be in the House today. They have been tremendously supportive, and I certainly wouldn’t be anywhere close to this place without their help.

I would also like to introduce Vanessa Goodman and Tammy Forbes. Vanessa is the manager of external relations for the North West Redwater Partnership, which is the subject of my member’s statement later today. With her is Tammy Forbes. She is the director of strategic communications for Women Building Futures, which is a key labour force contributor to the partnership. I see they’ve already risen, so I would be, you know, really thankful if all the members would give a very warm welcome to them.


Sturgeon Refinery Update: A good news story

On April 19th I gave an update to the Alberta Legislature on the commissioning of the new Sturgeon Refinery. I was happy to report that things are going well.

Video and full transcript below:

“At the current stage of construction this refinery is able to process synthetic crude into diesel and other value-added products. Over 2 million barrels have been refined and shipped within western
Canada already, and the refinery has started paying off.”

Sturgeon Refinery Update
Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to give an update on a project that I’m proud to have in my riding, the Sturgeon refinery. It is a good-news story. The refinery is now nearing completion. Nine out of 10 units are now in the commissioning phase. This past December the refinery produced its first diesel, and I was honoured to attend the celebration in Morinville along with my colleague the MLA for Sherwood Park. At the current stage of construction this refinery is able to process synthetic crude into diesel and other value-added products. Over 2 million barrels have been refined and shipped within western Canada already, and the refinery has started paying off.

The Sturgeon refinery is state of the art and a testament to Alberta ingenuity. It’s the world’s first refinery with integrated carbon capture and storage. At completion this refinery will capture 1.2 million tonnes of CO2. The CO2 is safely sequestered by injecting it into depleted geological formations deep beneath the Earth’s
surface. This is the equivalent of taking nearly 300,000 cars off our roads. The refinery also protects the environment by producing an ultra low sulphur product with low carbon intensity. From a peak of 8,000 workers to around 2,500 today this refinery has logged over 50 million hours of employment. During one of the worst downturns in recent memory this project has provided a decent income to thousands of Alberta families.

Further, this refinery has stood out as a leader in ensuring an equitable and representative workforce through partnering with organizations
such as Women Building Futures and working closely with First Nation communities. It is also known as a good neighbour by the farmers nearby and is a huge supporter of the local community.

Seventy-five per cent of Albertans want to see more refining done in this province. The Sturgeon refinery was the first new refinery built in years and was done with the novel funding arrangement that has made this project possible. The North West Redwater Partnership is to be commended for creating something successful and truly made in Alberta. Thank you.

Question Period – Petrochemicals Diversification Program – April 17, 2018

Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As someone who has advocated for the petrochemicals diversification program, I’m gratified to see the uptake from industry and the projects it has incentivized. I know that Inter Pipeline has begun construction on their $3.5 billion polypropylene production unit in the Industrial Heartland. To the Minister of Energy: could she update the House on progress at Inter Pipeline and other ongoing PDP projects?

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Energy.

Ms McCuaig-Boyd: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, we’re focused on the right priorities for Albertans such as creating good jobs in a more diversified economy. This means getting Alberta off the boom-and-bust roller coaster we’ve been on for many, many years. The Inter Pipeline project is under construction, as the member notes, and at peak will have 2,000 people working on-site. That’s not to mention all the procurement that is going on, and I can tell you that the company is making every effort to procure as much in Alberta as they can. It’s well under way, and it’s a great project for . . .

The Speaker: Thank you, hon. minister.

Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Minister.
That sounds encouraging, but what does it mean to my constituents in terms of direct jobs and other spinoffs? To the same minister: what is the total economic impact of projects announced to date, assuming all go forward?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Ms McCuaig-Boyd: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, in addition to creating a new value chain which we do not have in Alberta, it’s creating new markets, perhaps new manufacturing down the road. At the end of the day, when this project is built, it’s going to be $3.5 billion of private-sector investment. It will be thousands of jobs in construction, and it will employ approximately 180 full-time jobs. While it’s being built, we’re enjoying taxes in the municipality and in the government. People are working. Again, it’s a great project for Alberta, and it’s history making.

Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Minister.
Given that the Official Opposition is against these types of industrial incentive programs and given your own understanding of international competition for these types of projects, again to the Minister of Energy: would these welcome developments have happened without the assistance of the petrochemicals diversification program?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Ms McCuaig-Boyd: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, when we looked at all these programs, we looked at the strengths we have here in Alberta, and absolutely resources are one of them. We have a skilled workforce, creative people. I can tell you that when I was down in Houston, we did learn that it’s a competitive thing, and we need to find a way to get those investment decisions over the line. Indeed, Inter Pipeline has told me on more than one occasion that it was this very program that made the final investment decision go. We’re following the same vision Premier Lougheed had many years ago, and we’re very proud to do that, something the Conservatives . . .

The Speaker: Thank you, hon. minister. Thank you.


Town & Country – April 10, 2018 NDP proposes no-go zone outside abortion clinics

Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater MLA Colin Piquette said that regardless of one’s position on abortion, it is a legal right that government is obligated to protect. 

“As the government, we are obligated if people are accessing a legitimate health service that they’re not being intimidated, shamed or bullied for doing so,” he said. 

“I just think it is unfortunate that we need to put this type of legislation into plat, and I have respect for diverse opinions on this issue,” Piquette added.

Athabasca Advocate – April 10, 2018 Not ‘just a ploughboy’

Documentary on local author George Ryga screened at Nancy Appley

“Too often in our own history, we tend to see ourselves as not being worth talking outside of our little towns, that interesting things happen in other places,” Piquette said in his speech before the screening. “To have an amazing author like George Ryga come out authentically from our community shows we really underrate ourselves.”

MLA Piquette speaks before the screening of “Just a Ploughboy” on April 8, 2018