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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his government will do whatever it takes to rescue the province from an oil price collapse and he wants the federal government to step up as well.

"This is not just about Alberta. As Alberta goes, so goes the national economy," Kenney said in Calgary on Monday, after markets closed with cratering oil prices threatening to drain billions of dollars from the province's bottom line.

"Albertans, even in our times of economic trial, have been contributing $20 billion net to the rest of the federation through our federal taxes. Our ability to continue doing so is now at risk," he said.

"Albertans have been good to the rest of Canada. It's time to see the rest of Canada return the favour."

Kenney is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday at the first ministers meeting in Ottawa.

He said he'll be asking for a range of relief measures, including financial incentives to help create jobs in reclaiming orphan wells, changes to payroll taxes and removal of a cap on fiscal stabilization transfers that would return about $2.6 billion to Alberta.

Kenney said his own United Conservative government will look at a range of choices that include borrowing money for more capital spending to boost jobs, a return to tax incentives to lure high-tech startups and directly subsidizing a barrel of oil.

The premier is also striking an emergency panel to be headed up by economist Jack Mintz with the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.

"All options will be on the table. I repeat: all options will be on the table to do everything that we can within our capacity to help protect jobs and Albertans," said Kenney.

Alberta's energy industry, already suffering from reduced demand due to the novel coronavirus, is taking a gut punch due to an all-out price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The price for West Texas Intermediate crude fell to US$30 a barrel on Monday. Alberta has budgeted its oil revenue based on US$58 a barrel. Each $1 drop in price represents a cut of about $200 million from Alberta's bottom line.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his government will do whatever it takes to rescue the province from an oil price collapse and he wants the federal government to step up as well.

Kenney, saying now is not the time for partisan politics, said he'll be reaching out to rival politicians, including Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley, for advice.

Notley, speaking at a news conference in Edmonton, said Kenney needs to withdraw his recently tabled budget and submit a new one that recognizes how free-falling oil prices are decimating revenues.

Notley said the low prices will conservatively send the projected deficit for 2020-21 to almost $11 billion from $6.8 billion.

She said Kenney has left Alberta vulnerable by slashing corporate income taxes last year and using wildly optimistic oil revenue projections in the budget.

She also said Kenney was wrong when his government dismantled tax incentives last fall designed to lure more diversified businesses, including high-tech companies, to Alberta.

"Premier Kenney's belief in his corporate (tax) handout has always been magical thinking, but today it has been exposed as pure fantasy," said Notley.

"It would be profoundly irresponsible for the premier to press forward with this budget when the assumptions it is built on have been proven to be false."

Kenney said he will not be withdrawing his budget. He noted it's three weeks until the end of the fiscal year and the province needs a budget in place. He said the government will revisit projections in the summer when the fiscal situation becomes clearer.

Kenney also resisted Notley's call to revisit an almost three per cent cut to operational spending. He said it remains a realistic goal given that Alberta spends more per capita than comparable jurisdictions.

Albertans pay the lowest overall taxes in Canada and there is no provincial sales tax. Both Kenney and Notley, saying it would be catastrophic to an already hurting economy, dismissed any increases.

Kenney's UCP won last April's election on a promise to focus on revitalizing oil and gas while eradicating a string of multibillion-dollar deficits and getting the rising debt under control.

At the time, Kenney criticized the NDP for what he characterized as mismanaging the economy by borrowing billions of dollars, thereby running up debt interest payments that would cripple future generations.

Kenney said last week that his government's goal of balancing the books by 2023 might not happen.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2020

I am so sick and tired of this Alberta song that chirps " if oil doesn't do well the Canadian economy tanks". Oil has been on the ropes in Alberta for years and the economy in the rest of the country is doing pretty well. So please stop coming to Ottawa for more handouts when you won't even tax your own citizens.

I agree entirely ............ the country is doing very well in spite of the "crisis in Alberta". The Government in
Ottawa has a duty to all citizens in taking opportunity to explain to Mr. Kenny that it is the world marketplace that is causing oil industry problems at present and cannot be corrected by any amount of efforts on the part of the remainder of the country. Instead of blaming everyone else it is past time Alberta looked into the mirror and realized that it is up to them to make the intelligent changes necessary to survive into the future. This should begin with taxation that matches or is similar to that undertaken in other provinces starting with "sales taxation".

Kenney craps all over everything federal at every opportunity, does all he can to destabilize the federal government, to undermine the Liberals, and then, demands that they treat Alberta special. I'm pretty sure the rest of Canada is getting real tired of the act. I sure am.

For sure. It’s time for Alberta to help itself and for Kenney to get off his his high horse! Diversify the economy and impose a PST.

There are two facts that ascertain the petroleum industry will never recover and Kenney tantrums will not change this.

One is Chinese vehicle legislation and the other is that of the European Union, both of which require a rapid and massive migration to electric vehicles within a few years. As these jurisdictions represent the largest and third largest vehicle markets, ALL global automakers must make the massive investments to make this happen. Even the U.S.-based Big 3 (Ford, GM and Chrysler Fiat) must compete with foreign automakers in North America.

Since two-thirds of petroleum consumption is in transportation, 89% of which, is for road transportation, peak oil will likely occur in the 2020's, by the time any new pipeline can be completed.

The petroleum era is over and if Kenney would bother to inform himself, he would realize he has no choice. He must diversify the Alberta economy quickly. Only then will the rest of Canada take him seriously and want to help, rather than view him as a shrill man.

An example of a good place to start would be to ask for federal collaboration for establishing in Alberta a Canadian scale equivalent to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a 327 acre campus in Colorado, with 2,685 employees, representing 70 countries.