Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault speaks with the media following a cabinet meeting, in Ottawa, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

New environment minister says his climate plan is not a ‘secret agenda’

OTTAWA — Newly minted Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says his agenda to combat climate change and bring down emissions from Alberta’s oilsands is not a secret.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said Guilbeault’s appointment Tuesday to the environment portfolio sends a “problematic message” to his province about Ottawa’s plans for the oil and gas sector.

Guilbeault is a former environmental activist from Quebec who has called the oilsands “dirty” and argued that pipelines and oil and gas expansion are not compatible with meeting Canada’s climate goals.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has attempted for years to court both the dollars that come from oil and gas expansion and the votes that come with flashy climate policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Guilbeault says his agenda and the government’s is crystal clear: emissions have to come down from all sectors, including oil and gas, but he adds how that happens and what that does to production is up to the provinces, not Ottawa.

Guilbeault also says he’s disappointed Kenney isn’t travelling to Scotland for next week’s global climate talks but says he still is happy to speak with any premier willing to co-operate on climate action.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2021.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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