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Trudeau infuriates Alta. politicians over talk of phasing out the oilsands

At a town hall meeting in Peterborough, Ont., Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked about phasing out Alberta’s oilsands. Alberta politicians reacted in an unremarkably predictable way.

From the Globe and Mail (“Trudeau’s oil sands ‘phase-out’ comments spark anger in Alberta“):

Meeting with people in Peterborough, Ont., Mr. Trudeau was asked about the government’s approval for oil-industry pipelines and how that decision was consistent with Canada’s pledge to dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The oil sands sector remains one of the country’s fastest-growing sources of GHGs.

While he reiterated his government’s support for pipelines and insisted economic development goes hand in hand with environmental protection, the Liberal Prime Minister suggested the oil sands sector is essentially a sunset industry that the government would eventually wind down.

“We can’t shut down the oil sands tomorrow. We need to phase them out,” he said. “We need to manage the transition off our dependence on fossil fuels.”

In the wake of that comment, social media erupted in a torrent of outrage, with conservative politicians in Alberta fuelling the fire by posting a short clip of his offending comment that edited out his support for pipeline projects. …

“The verdict is in. Prime Minister Trudeau has confirmed Albertans’ worst fears about his Liberal government and its plans for our energy sector,” Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean said in a release that included a link to a clip on Facebook of Mr. Trudeau’s statement.

“By vowing to ‘phase out’ the oil sands, Mr. Trudeau has declared his true feelings towards our province, and Western Canada as a whole.”

Some other Alberta reaction from the Calgary Herald (“Justin Trudeau will have to ‘go through me’ to ‘phase out’ oilsands, says Brian Jean):

… The PM’s oilsands comments prompted harsh words from some provincial politicians, with Wildrose Leader Brian Jean calling them a “direct attack” on Alberta while Progressive Conservative interim leader Ric McIver said he was “incredibly disappointed” in Trudeau’s remark.

Tory leadership candidates Jason Kenney, Stephen Khan and Richard Starke also took to Twitter to lambaste the PM’s phase-out talk.

In a video statement posted on social media, (Alberta Premier Rachel) Notley took a more diplomatic approach, alluding to her NDP government’s climate action plan as she said pointedly that “oil and gas will help power the global economy for generations to come and our job is to make sure that Alberta’s products are the first in line.”

“Alberta’s oil and gas industry and the people who work in it are the best in the world and we’re not going anywhere, any time soon,” said Notley, who has been closely allied to Trudeau on the issues of climate change and pipelines needed to connect Alberta’s oilsands crude to new markets.

Fri, January 13 2017 » * Big Picture Stuff, Main Page