Mr. Speaker, although the debate this afternoon is taking us a little far afield from the budget, I want to pick up on the point the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge made.
I could not agree more with former premier Frank McKenna that it does not make sense to be importing crude at high-value prices and exporting low-value bitumen, which always gets a low price, because it is solid, unlike the crude that comes into eastern Canada. Would he agree that it would be a good plan to stop importing foreign oil to eastern Canada and to process bitumen within Alberta and use it in the domestic market in Canada?
Pat Kelly – Member for Calgary Rocky Ridge
Mr. Speaker, this is an argument usually used by opponents of the industry who say that they are not really totally opposed to the whole industry and shutting it down, but could we not defy the market and build infrastructure to process our product rather than export it raw? If we upgraded bitumen in Alberta, would the member propose the most aggressive expansion of the oil and gas industry in Alberta and the most aggressive possible expansion of the distribution of these fuels? I think likely not, but who knows?