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Brian Jean named vitality minister amidst altering vitality panorama, looming battle with Ottawa

Brian Jean is the primary vitality minister to return from Fort McMurray. He has an enormous to-do checklist as Alberta is dragged into international debates on local weather and vitality insurance policies.

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Brian Jean, UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, is Alberta’s minister of vitality and minerals. Jean is the primary MLA from Fort McMurray to carry the vitality minister place.

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His new job comes as Alberta and the oil and gasoline sector face debates on how the world consumes and regulates vitality. He will likely be concerned in nationwide and worldwide talks and fights over local weather and vitality coverage. In an interview, Jean mentioned it’s a cupboard place he’s at all times needed.

“I’m excited to brag about our vitality sector as a result of I feel we’re the very best on the earth at what we do,” he mentioned.

His greatest problem will likely be between Alberta and Ottawa. In her victory speech on election evening, Premier Danielle Smith warned of a looming “huge battle” with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a deliberate oil and gasoline emissions cap.

Ottawa can be creating plans for a net-zero energy grid by 2035, and Alberta fears it will drive prices up for customers and trade. Jean calls this plan “unobtainable” and says 2050 is a greater timeline for many net-zero targets.

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“Having grown up within the oilsands, I’ve seen the ups and downs of the oil trade. I’ve seen what firms can do to construct communities and I’ve seen firms abandon communities,” he mentioned.

“What we’re right here for is to enhance high quality of life for Albertans and to do this, we have to construct communities. I’m excited to do my half on that.”

UCP candidate for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche Brian Jean at the Fort McMurray Golf Club for an all-candidates forum during the 2023 Alberta Election campaign on May 23, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network
UCP candidate for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche Brian Jean on the Fort McMurray Golf Membership for an all-candidates discussion board through the 2023 Alberta Election marketing campaign on Could 23, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Immediately/Postmedia Community

No scarcity of labor for Jean’s ministry

Jean has a large to-do checklist along with his new ministry. He should promote buyers on Alberta’s vitality trade, notably in oil, gasoline and the rising hydrogen sectors. He additionally should discover methods to chop oil and gasoline emissions and construct assist for carbon seize and storage.

He should sort out long-standing problems with tailings administration and cleansing getting older wells. Jean will typically work intently with Atmosphere and Protected Areas Minister Rebecca Schulz and Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson.

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There’s additionally new applied sciences to be reviewed. Jean lately visited South Korea to advertise Alberta’s hydrogen reserves and focus on bringing small modular nuclear reactors to the oilsands. Including minerals to the portfolio’s title displays international calls for for uncommon components and compounds in electronics and batteries, resembling lithium and cobalt.

These rising tendencies don’t threaten oil and gasoline communities like Fort McMurray, mentioned Jean. Hydrocarbons are nonetheless wanted whilst know-how improves, he argues, and analysis into reducing oilsands emissions really makes the area a focal point.

“I feel individuals don’t acknowledge how far know-how has come and it’s actually unbelievable what vitality is being made out of,” mentioned Jean.

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“Our alternatives in Canada to be world leaders in inexperienced tech and the race on local weather change means we can have applied sciences we will promote to the world and ensure that different jurisdictions are capable of sustain with their their ongoing commitments.”

Jean is certainly one of 25 cupboard ministers introduced by Smith on Friday. In October, Jean was appointed minister of jobs, financial system and northern growth. His previous ministry has been renamed minister of jobs, financial system and commerce and given to Matt Jones, UCP MLA for Calgary-South East.

There aren’t any parliamentary secretary positions. Tany Yao, UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, was parliamentary secretary for rural well being previous to the election.

“There’s loads of work forward of us, and that’s why I’m so happy that we’ve the fitting crew to do the work,” Smith mentioned following the swearing in ceremony at Authorities Home in Edmonton. “Our new cupboard is able to go. However we gained’t and we will’t do it alone. We’ll by no means cease listening to all Albertans, even those that didn’t vote for us.”

-with reporting from Chris Varcoe and Matthew Black

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