Swift Current City Council fully endorsed Canada’s oil and gas energy sector during a resolution passed at their January 25 meeting.
Council unanimously approved a resolution on Monday night indicating their support for the energy sector and all that it provides to the people of Swift Current, Saskatchewan and Canada.
“For me it was very important for me to tell the oil and gas industry that I believe they’re important. Our council felt it was very important that we tell them that we believe they’re important, not just to Swift Current, to Saskatchewan and to Canada as a whole,” Mayor Al Bridal said of the resolution he brought to council.
“In the City of Swift Current we unequivocally support the Oil and Gas Industry and their employees here in Saskatchewan,” he said while presenting the resolution. “The world needs energy, and Saskatchewan energy companies provide the energy in an environmentally friendly way, an ethical way, and a sustainable way.”
“The Council for the City of Swift Current wants you to know that if no other communities want you, we do!”
Bridal pointed to impacts on the oil and gas sector initiated by both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and American President Joe Biden as hurtful to an important contributor to the North American economy.
“Both of them seem to think, I believe naively, that we can have enough energy to live here from just windmills and solar power and electric vehicles,” Bridal said during a press conference following Monday’s meeting.
“Our climate today is a perfect example, at -24, there’s not enough energy from electricity out there to keep us all warm. If we had to rely on electricity we could not live here in Saskatchewan.”
He again stressed the need for gas and oil on the Canadian prairies, which has different needs than heavily populated Canadian and American coastal regions and warmer climates.
“I believe they’re both naive, and I want to use that word,” he said of the oil and gas energy stances of Prime Minster Trudeau and President Biden.
Swift Current’s resolution was sparked by a Regina City Council Executive Committee motion which took aim at numerous Saskatchewan energy producing companies “whose business is principally derived from the sale or production of fossil fuels”. The approved motion would restrict these companies from sponsoring events or advertising in Regina owned facilities. The policy was carried by a 7-4 margin, but has since drawn widespread criticism from across the province.
All six Swift Current councillors voiced their support for the oil and gas industry.
“This is a sector that has been under attack and has quite frankly been demonized the last number of years in a wholly unfair manner as far as I’m concerned. This country produces the most ethically sourced oil in the world, under very strict environmental and labour standards, and we will be requiring this for a number of decades yet despite some of the rhetoric that’s out there,” noted Councillor Tom Christiansen.
“Quite simply the oil and gas sector is vital to our local, its vital to our provincial economy, and it’s vital to our countries economy,” he added.
Councillor John Wall also fully supported the motion, stating “Our community needs the energy. We need the people that work here. And they seem to get hit all the time… the Keystone Pipeline is another hit and it just seems like it goes on forever. As a community I would say that we really, really appreciate this energy sector and we support this fully.”
Councillor Ryan Switzer noted that oil and gas sector employees work long hours and travel long distances to get to where the work is.
“These are hard working people that are powering our region,” he noted.
“This discussion came from a city in Saskatchewan that wanted to pass a bylaw to put our oil and gas sector in a similar category as tobacco and X rated adult entertainment, and that’s distressingly short sighted and frighteningly naive.”
Councillor Leanne Tuntland Wiebe noted she expressed her support for the sector as part of a video series on the Canada’s Energy Citizens Facebook page, so she whole heartedly supported the motion.
Councillor Ryan Plewis was surprised that this type of show of support would be needed for such an impactful part of the prairie economy.
“It just makes no sense to me that a community in Western Canada, with such a dependence on not just obviously on energy but on energy employees, would have something like that come out,” he said of the Regina City Council Executive Committee motion.
“Canadian oil and gas is produced more ethically here than anywhere else, more environmentally friendly and sustainable here than anywhere else. It makes a huge economic impact in our area, and even for those who don’t want to admit it, the economic impact and the spin off from that industry has massive implications for the rest of our country,” Plewis explained.
“Those people who in a shortsighted and naive way object, do so while enjoying all of the privilege and the benefit of that industry – that’s something that’s pretty hard to swallow.”
“Regardless of what you think of the future of energy needs and the way that we should be doing things…this industry is not going anywhere. We’re still going to have a need for the oil and gas industry for many years into future. And as Canadians I think that we should rally behind an industry that pays the bills in this country a big way.”
“I’m honestly surprised that we’re even having a conversation like this in the province of Saskatchewan.”
“And as our mayor said, if any energy company out there feels like they’re not wanted in their community, I can tell you 100 per cent you are wanted in this community, and that we would be happy to talk to you. We would be happy to make it work for you.”
Councillor Pat Friesen, who was the last council member to weigh in on the resolution, simply added “I support all the comments that have been made and will support the motion.”