HALIFAX—Young Nova Scotians are contributing to Alberta’s prosperity when there are energy resources that could be tapped into at home that would lead to jobs, the federal minister of employment and social development said.
“I’m from Alberta,” Jason Kenney told a meeting of the provincial Progressive Conservative party.
“I see all of these wonderful young Nova Scotians who’ve come down there to work hard and make good money and, heaven forbid, you know what they’re doing? They’re drilling for oil and gas. They’re actually drilling fracking wells.”
Nova Scotia introduced legislation last fall banning high-volume hydraulic fracturing for onshore oil and gas.
The province already had a moratorium on the practice, also known as fracking, for two years before putting the ban into legislation.
Provincial Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie has said he does not support the ban, adding that it prevents the creation of new jobs in the province.
When the legislation was introduced, Energy Minister Andrew Younger said the province would not look at lifting the ban without evidence that fracking can be done safely under new rules and regulations.
Nova Scotia is not alone in Atlantic Canada in its stance on fracking.
New Brunswick introduced its own moratorium in December that Premier Brian Gallant said will not be lifted until concerns the province has on health, water and the environment are dealt with.
The province is also promising to get input from First Nations on fracking.
A recent poll suggested New Brunswickers were almost evenly divided on the issue of the development of a shale gas industry in the province when the survey was done by Corporate Research Associates Inc. in November.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, fracking is temporarily banned while an independent panel reviews the issue.
Prince Edward Island, meanwhile, is waiting for the results of studies in other jurisdictions before it takes a position on fracking.
Kenney said fracking in the western provinces is done safely.
“It makes no sense to me as an Albertan that we should take many of your best and brightest to fuel Alberta’s prosperity,” said Kenney, who wasn’t available for comment after his speech. “They should be here in Nova Scotia fuelling your prosperity.”
Fracking is a process that forces pressurized water and chemicals into layers of rock to release trapped oil and natural gas.