Gateway Gazette

Sturgeon Refinery Questions Need Answers: Barnes

EDMONTON, AB: With new concerns regarding cost overruns and delays at the Sturgeon Refinery coming to light, Albertans deserve answers to a list of questionsposed by former Finance Minister Ted Morton, Wildrose Shadow Energy Minister Drew Barnes said.

Barnes said that among other things, the NDP government needs to be transparent about how construction costs on the project have skyrocketed to a whopping $9.3 billion, and how it’s going to protect taxpayers who are currently exposed to a frightening $26 billion liability in estimated future toll commitments. Barnes said that while he’s added his voice to the call for an Auditor General review on the matter, the NDP government needs to get the ball rolling by immediately answering Morton’s questions.

“Just how bad could this situation get for Alberta taxpayers, the people exposed to all the risk? That’s what we need to know,” Barnes said. “Unfortunately, Albertans are the investors in this project and they deserve to know how their money is being spent. The NDP needs to answer Morton’s questions, one-by-one, and give Albertans the answers they’re owed.”

Barnes said he also wants to know what checks and balances have been put in place by government to ensure another boondoggle of this scale won’t befall taxpayers, especially with the North West Redwater Partnership seeking additional corporate welfare for Phase 2 of the project.

“The billion dollar question is whether or not the NDP government has learned anything from this epic boondoggle,” Barnes said. “This is not a partisan issue. This is about ensuring that this never happens again and that Albertans’ hard-earned money is treated with value and respect once it’s in the government’s hands.”

Barnes said he want to see an end to this kind of corporate welfare in the province.

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