Climate change debate polarization shows lack of leadership, says oilsands CEO

CALGARY — The CEO of oilsands producer MEG Energy Corp. says polarization of the climate change debate as it relates to the role of the Canadian energy industry indicates an “extreme” lack of leadership from all political parties in Canada.

Speaking at the Natural Resources Summit in Calgary, Derek Evans says he’s frustrated by the wide gulf in views exhibited by parties in the run-up to the Oct. 21 election.

With polls showing the front-running Liberals and Conservatives in a close race, some observers have suggested a minority government might have to rely on support of the NDP or the Green Party, both of which have signalled they will not support the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Evans told reporters later he couldn’t expand on his views of the leadership issue because of new election rules that could result in him being fined if he says too much during the campaign.

The summit, held to examine how the energy sector is dealing with rising environmental opposition such as last Friday’s climate strike, was hosted by the Canadian Global Cities Council, a group of eight metro chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across Canada.

Jan De Silva, CEO of Toronto Region Board of Trade, told the summit her organization supports oil and gas because of the economic benefits the country as a whole gains from having a healthy energy sector.

“Jobs solve a lot of challenges for everyone in our communities,” she said.

“These are not Alberta’s issues alone. How Canada can be a leader in natural resources and lead the world in clean tech matters greatly to Toronto and to the entire country.”

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