Calgary Mayoral Candidates Weigh In About Energy Issues That Affect Calgary
Since the energy industry is so important to many Calgarians (and Albertans), EnergyNow put together a series of energy related questions and presented them to leading contenders in the City of Calgary’s 2021 Mayoral race. All candidates were asked the same questions.
EnergyNow will be publishing the answers from the candidates that participated to let readers know where candidates stand on key energy issues that affect Calgary and in many ways, Alberta and the rest of Canada. For information purposes, only one candidate asked declined the invitation to participate.
The following candidates for the Mayor of Calgary were asked to participate (in no particular order)
- Brad Field Coming October 13
- Jeromy Farkas Coming October 8
- Jeff Davison Coming October 15
- Grace Yan Coming October 11
- Jan Damery Featured Candidate
- Zane Novak Coming October 6
- Jyoti Gondek – (Declined Participation)
EnergyNow is Pleased to Present City of Calgary Mayor Candidate
EnergyNow (EN): Do you believe fossil fuels are a sunset industry and that Alberta’s massive reserves of coal, oil and natural gas will become one giant stranded asset because of the “energy transition”?
Jan Damery (JD): Fossil fuels are not a sunset industry. How we use the fuels for energy, and how we use them for feedstock for industrial purposes will continue to change, but they will continue to be used for centuries to come.
EN: It is well known that Houston is the epicenter of the oil and gas industry in the United States. Houston makes no apologies for this distinction. The same can be said for Calgary. It is the energy capital of Canada. Given Calgary’s current status as an energy hub, how important do you feel is the energy sector to Calgary on a go forward basis?
JD: The energy sector will remain key for Calgary for the next century. Our growth as a city is not about displacing or replacing oil and gas but growing other parts of our economy as Calgary grows. Calgary will continue to be a global energy leader and will cement itself as a leader through diversification of energy sources and the development of alternatives. Calgary has the know-how and expertise. This work is already happening and we need to kick it into a higher gear.
EN: A significant portion of Calgary’s downtown current empty office space was primarily occupied by the oil and gas industry. While the oil and gas industry may recover somewhat, technological changes like Artificial Intelligence (AI) have permanently reduced the head office administrative head count. What is your plan for these empty offices, and it’s associated underutilized talent? Can a city be a driver of reversing this trend?
JD: The City can play a key role in filling downtown office towers and reskilling underutilized talent. Calgary currently has over 2000 tech-related job vacancies in Calgary and not enough tech-trained Calgarians to fill them. We can retrain and train Calgarians to fill these roles.
I propose to grow Calgary’s tech training downtown. In partnership, the Calgary Tech initiative would graduate up to 1,000 digital and STEM trained students each year and bring 4,000 staff and students to Calgary’s downtown. This will increase Calgary’s tech Grads +200% and STEM Grads +25% to fill the current skills gap.
The plan will invest $200 million to repurpose empty office spaces downtown for campus facilities and reactivate vacant facilities, as well as operating funding of $30 million a year as student enrollment expands. Funding will be sourced from the Calgary Opportunity District, leveraging downtown’s office space to fund downtown’s revitalization.
EN: While Calgary itself does not have a lot of influence on energy policy at the federal level, the incoming Mayor can play a role promoting Calgary, both with other mayors within Canada and internationally at conferences and events. What stance will you take in promoting Calgary as an energy hub for Canada, including oil and gas?
JD: Calgary is Canada’s energy hub. I will advocate for our industry, and let other levels of government and governments around the world know that our industry is evolving into the planet’s greenest source of energy and industrial feedstock as we implement carbon capture and carbon exploitation in-situ.
EN: Canada is the fifth largest oil and gas producing country in the world behind only the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Within Canada, Calgary is internationally recognized as one of the major oil capitals of the world and will host the World Petroleum Congress in 2023. None of the major oil producing countries in the world are being as aggressive as Canada about getting out of the oil and business, an initiative by certain politicians at the federal level. As Mayor of Calgary, what message would you like to convey to those politicians?
JD: I believe the oil and gas industry will be a foundation stone of Canada’s economy well into the next century. We will transform how we use oil and gas to support our low carbon energy future. We cannot ignore the plentiful resource we have for political reasons, and must allow economics, including a price on carbon, to set our future energy mix.
EN: As Mayor, what message would you like to send anti-oil & gas activists? Especially those that do not live in Canada or groups that are foreign funded to interfere with oil and gas development in Canada, directly affecting Calgary?
JD: Alberta’s oil and gas industry is evolving into the planet’s greenest source of energy and industrial feedstock. Alberta’s oil and gas industry is the world’s largest oil and gas industry with a price on carbon. Our world needs energy, and supporting the greenest sources is in the planet’s best interests.
EN: What do you think about the Federal government’s recently announced plan for a “Just Transition” for Canada’s oil and gas workers? A plan that could potentially further eliminate many Calgary jobs and displace Calgary taxpayers and their families to other cities or provinces. A summary of the federal government’s “Just Transition” plan is here: https://www.rncanengagenrcan.ca/en/collections/just-transition
JD: The plan could use a rebrand. I’m sure the intentions were good, but what is popular language in downtown Toronto felt like a gut punch in Calgary. Our oil and gas industry is transforming, but it isn’t being transitioned away from.
EN: Have you ever been involved or associated with an anti-oil & gas campaign or group?
EN: How do you think Calgary should plug into the province’s hydrogen strategy?
JD: Calgary should be the research, development, corporate, and financial hub of Canada’s hydrogen industry. Calgary is already home to some of the most promising hydrogen technology start-ups like Proton Technologies, and we need many more.
EN: Finally, reducing energy use and emissions is not only a priority in today’s changing world but it is also welcomed by many working in Canada’s oil & gas sector. What key items do you support to help “green” Calgary’s future? Is this something the city and its taxpayers should invest in for Calgary alone? Or should the city support the energy industry in the development of technologies that have global applications?
JD: This past July I proposed a three-pronged solution to green Calgary and save money:
- Calgary Operations Emissions Utility Reduction (COEUR): Reducing the City of Calgary’s $125 million direct liability by spending $100 million to reduce emissions over 4 years, and by creating clear accountabilities for emissions reductions.
- ENMAX Net-Zero: Reducing Enmax’s climate liability and protect Calgarians’ investment.
- Meet its 70% emissions reduction by 2030 goal by requiring yearly updates on actions to date, current projections, planned actions, and projected actions to reach the 2030 goal.
- Produce a Net-Zero by 2045 transition plan.
- Calgary Climate Services: Providing Calgarians and businesses more tools to reduce their emissions, by connecting them to emissions reductions assessors, by connecting them to subsidy programs by other levels of government, by connecting them to contractors, and by providing $100 million of low interest loans secured by property taxes for improvements to buildings’ energy performance and low emissions mobility like E-Bikes.
By the end of the decade, COEUR, Calgary Climate Services and supporting Calgary’s Climate Resilience Strategy will create 4,000 jobs and avoid an otherwise inevitable tax increase.
EnergyNow would like to thank Jan Damery for her participation.
For More Information on Jan Damery please visit: Jan Damery For Mayor