CALGARY — Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner says he is not surprised environmental activists took a shot at him before an international climate change conference in Cancun.
Renner says a mocking ad in a Mexican newspaper only proves that Alberta’s energy sector needs a strong presence at the meeting.
He says he expected at least one group in Cancun would take aim at the oilsands.
Renner also says the ad, paid for by the Environmental Defence group, unfairly places blame on Alberta for what he calls an international problem.
The ad shows Renner wearing a sombrero and mockingly thanks him for keeping oil flowing from the oilsands while doing little to stop pollution.
Renner commented as he was boarding a plane in Calgary on his way to Mexico, where it’s expected he’ll promote the benefits of the oilsands.
“If we’re not there to tell our side of the story, others will tell it from their perspective. Clearly there needs to be some balance,” he said.
“To single out one jurisdiction, one region within that jurisdiction, to somehow indicate that this is the leading cause of climate change is misleading in the extreme.”
Gillian McEachern, an Environmental Defence spokeswoman, says Canadian political leaders are ignoring the environmental damage because of the billions of dollars the oilsands generate.