Top News

LETTER: Urgent help needed for Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore petroleum Industry

SeaRose FPSO and standby vessel at the White Rose field.
File photo

The survival of Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas industry is essential to the survival of the province as a contributing member of Confederation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the funeral service for my late father, John Crosbie in January, and I thank him for his courtesy and grace in doing so, and in visiting privately with the Crosbie family.

I know he is aware of the tumultuous struggles of this province to gain control of our offshore resources, culminating in principal beneficiary status for the province under the Atlantic Accord, and the aspiration captured by Premier Brian Peckford that “Have not will be no more.”

Since the discovery of the Hibernia oil field in 1979, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have worked tirelessly to develop a world class industry. This industry now accounts for almost 30 per cent of provincial GDP, 13 per cent of labour compensation and 10 per cent of provincial employment.

While these numbers are significant, they do not account for the sense of prosperity and pride the oil industry has brought to the province. Through the hard work of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the oil industry, our province has been transformed and looking forward to a bright future under fiscally responsible good government.

Due to dual blows from foreign price wars and the economic devastation caused by the ongoing public-health crisis, the offshore oil industry is now at risk. Companies in the supply and service sector have left the province, workers have been laid off, exploration is being deferred, and major projects put on hold.

Every resident of this province feels the impact of this downturn, and a population loss looms comparable to that triggered by the 1992 cod moratorium.

Our long history with the ocean has taught us to be economic stewards, and the need for transition to sustainable energy is generally understood. As leader, I commit the PC Party when in government to the objective of meeting our share of Canada’s 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target.

This week industry and provincial political officials publicly pleaded with the prime minister for industry support. The economic viability of the country’s most easterly province is in the balance.

On May 28, I wrote the prime minister not to plead, but to warn.

His failure to take action to deliver tax incentives to make investment in our offshore competitive with the investment regimes offered elsewhere in the world will risk a fiscal conflagration that may not be contained within the boundaries of one province. The prime minister’s reputation in Canadian history for statesmanship rides on his response to the offshore petroleum industry in its moment of need.

The reputation and electoral future of the Silent Six Liberal MPs. led by Silent Seamus O’Regan also rides on their ability to deliver in this moment of need. O’Regan is the minister of Natural Resources responsible for the offshore and our federal cabinet representative. His failure to deliver competitive incentives would prove his irrelevancy.

On behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians I urge the prime minister and his Liberal government to deliver a world-competitive investment regime for our offshore industry.

History is watching.

Ches Crosbie,
MHA Windsor Lake
Leader of the PC Official Opposition

RELATED:

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories