Educating the East

Alberta’s environment minister says Ontario and Quebec need oilsands lessons nearly as much as European countries do.

CALGARY — Alberta’s environment minister says Ontario and Quebec need oilsands lessons nearly as much as European countries do.

Rob Renner says it’s important to ensure that Central Canada better understands the economic importance of the industry.

Renner made the comments Monday after returning from the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

It was there that politicians from Ontario and Quebec urged the federal government to adopt more aggressive targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

They also said their provinces refuse to carry the financial responsibility for big polluters.

Renner pointed out Alberta’s net contribution to Ottawa was $21 billion last year because of a strong economy fuelled in large part by the oilsands.

“It’s almost as important to ensure that the message with respect to the oilsands and Alberta gets out in Eastern Canada as it is getting that message out in Europe and throughout the rest of the world,” he said.

He said the comments by Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen didn’t “exactly improve the relationship we have.”

He also said there was no excuse for using the Copenhagen summit as a “political platform.”

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