Final Argument of the AFL on Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion

Final written argument of the Alberta Federation of Labour in the matter of Enbridge Application to the National Energy Board for Line 9 Capacity Expansion and Line 9B Reversal.

October 3, 2013

The Alberta Federation of Labour urges the National Energy Board to approve the Enbridge Line 9/9B Project. We believe the Project satisfies the Section 52 public interest criteria by contributing to jobs for Albertans and Canadians and Canadian energy security.

The Alberta economy is heavily dependent upon petroleum exploration, extraction, and processing. According to government figures, the energy sector accounted for 27.6% of Alberta’s GDP.

Many of our members work in upgrading in Fort McMurray and Edmonton. Upgrading bitumen – into a product called Synthetic Crude Oil – is a capital and labour-intensive process that yields a number of petrochemicals in addition to SCO. There are markets for those petrochemicals that form part of Alberta’s petrochemical processing cluster, which was built using public policy instruments in the 1970s. Oil sands upgraders spur a chain of economic spinoffs throughout the entire Albertan economy. Given the far-reaching consequences of these economic spinoffs and diversification, including but not limited to more unionized employment in the Canadian energy sector, the Alberta Federation of Labour has been a frequent intervener in pipeline proceedings at the National Energy Board. In our previous interventions, which we recommend to the Board and have filed as evidence, we oppose bitumen export pipelines on the grounds that they export good-paying, long-term, unionized jobs.