Oil allies spark Alberta provincial row

Feb. 4, 2013 at 9:36 AM

EDMONTON, Alberta, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Alberta Premier Alison Redford defended her appointment of former oil professionals to political positions.

Redford said she was naming David Manning as provincial envoy to the United States and Alan Ross as the envoy to the Canadian central government. Manning had served as the president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Ross served as a lawyer for pipeline company TransCanada.

Rachel Notley, a member of the legislative assembly for the New Democratic Party, questioned Redford's decision.

"It appears as though the Alberta government is just becoming another vehicle for oil and gas to promote its interest, provincially, nationally and internationally," she was quoted by the Calgary Herald as saying.

The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has looked for ways to diversify an energy sector that depends on the United States as its primary customer.

Washington is expected to make a decision soon on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada's effort to bring Alberta oil sands to U.S. refiners.

"From my perspective, it was very important that we appoint someone who has a tremendous level of technical expertise," Redford was quoted as saying.

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