Don’t pit pipelines against wind turbines, PM says as fed-prov meetings open

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used a speech to a clean tech conference Wednesday to make a direct pitch for the expansion of Canada's oil and gas sector — a direction he later appeared to dial back in response to media questions.

VANCOUVER — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used a speech to a clean tech conference Wednesday to make a direct pitch for the expansion of Canada’s oil and gas sector — a direction he later appeared to dial back in response to media questions.

Trudeau began a day-and-a-half of meetings on climate policy with the provincial and territorial premiers by heralding the promise of jobs and opportunity in a low-carbon economy.

He announced two new funds, totalling more than $125 million, to help municipalities and spur clean innovation by promoting climate friendly infrastructure projects and assist with their design.

But in recognition of the growing tensions bubbling just under the surface of a country divided by natural resource wealth, the Liberal prime minister attempted to quarantine the divisive politics of oil sands and pipeline expansion.

Trudeau received an effusive welcome from a packed plenary of the Globe clean tech conference, where he opened the week-long trade and networking show Wednesday morning with a speech promoting economic opportunities.

“But we must continue to generate wealth from our abundant natural resources to fund this transition to this low-carbon economy,” he said at the speech’s mid-point.

“The choice between pipelines and wind turbines is a false one,” Trudeau continued. “We need both to reach our goal. And as we continue to ensure there is a market for our natural resources, our deepening commitment to a cleaner future will be a valuable advantage.”

It was not an applause line in this green coastal city.

Trudeau is in Vancouver to make good on an election pledge to meet with the premiers within three months of the Paris climate conference. But his promise to set new emissions targets for the country and create a pan-Canadian climate policy has morphed into finding an agreeable roadmap toward building a policy framework.

Even that process-heavy goal appears under stress this week.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall continues to torpedo any talk of carbon pricing, and there was talk in the corridors Wednesday of Saskatchewan not participating in a proposed federal-provincial working group looking at carbon price models.

“We know that fossil fuels will continue to be burned around the world, certainly as a transition energy, until we get to renewables. That’s a fact,” Wall told reporters, a floor up from where Trudeau was addressing a media throng in the same Vancouver Convention Centre at the same time.

He said oil and gas will continue to be “a central part of economies around the world.”

“Do Canadians want to be a part of meeting those fossil fuel needs? That’s the question we have to ask ourselves,” said Wall. “And if the answer to that is yes, then we have to build some pipelines.”

Trudeau’s efforts to give Wall and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley some breathing room on pipelines immediately ran into opposition here.

An onstage question-and-answer session at the friendly Globe conference took a fast detour, when the first question to the prime minister noted that the global climate has already warmed by one degree Celsius.

“How can we have the Energy East pipeline even on the table?” demanded Ziya Tong, the host of a popular science program, to scattered hoots and applause from the audience.

Trudeau responded that “we all know we have to get beyond fossil fuels, but we are simply not there yet.”

The issue emerged again during Trudeau’s subsequent news conference.

“One of the responsibilities of any and every Canadian prime minister is to get our resources to market,” he said. “Canada has natural resources and we need to develop those as part our economy and part of our growth.”

To do so responsibly and quickly during the transition of the next half century is the trick, said Trudeau, and that is the conversation that’s taking place at the Globe conference and among the premiers during their meetings here.

“There is little substitute for sitting down together,” he said.

Trudeau concluded the news conference by denying his government is creating conditions for more fossil fuels to be burned.

“Actually, what we’re trying to do is decrease consumption of oil and gas,” he said.

“That’s where the investments in renewables, the investments in clean tech, are such an important part of our vision for the future.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read