Canadian MP says oil sands opponents "treacherous"

OTTAWA Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:05pm EST

Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent speaks to members of the economic community in Toronto January 28, 2011.    REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent speaks to members of the economic community in Toronto January 28, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

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OTTAWA (Reuters) - In a sign of the strain the Canadian government is feeling over development of the tar sands, Environment Minister Peter Kent said on Wednesday that opposition legislators who campaigned in Washington against the idea were treacherous.

The right-of-center Conservative government was taken aback last week when the U.S. administration delayed approval of TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline designed to carry crude from the vast Alberta oil sands to refineries in Texas.

The Conservatives strongly back the pipeline. Opponents say development tar sands oil is particularly dirty, producing high amounts of greenhouse gases. They also say the pipeline could cause an environmental catastrophe if it ruptured.

Much to Kent's anger, two members of Parliament from the opposition New Democrats went to Washington this week to argue the pipeline should not go ahead until Canada has come up with a better plan to combat climate change.

"One of the opposition parties has taken the treacherous course of leaving the domestic debate and heading abroad to attack a legitimate Canadian resource which is being responsibly developed and regulated," Kent told reporters.

Neither the chief spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper nor a spokeswoman for Kent responded to requests for comment.

In late September, two senior government officials said a few hundred people who protested peacefully in Ottawa against the pipeline were extremists. Alberta is one of the Conservatives' main power bases.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Keystone XL would "generate hundreds of thousands of jobs, trillions of dollars in economic activity and revenue".

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

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Comments (4)
YoungTurkArmy wrote:
I am pretty sure that Kent and his political master won’t be reading this; but kindly crawl back into your 19th Century homeland. The health of the environment actually does trump the Alberta economy. It turns out that the citizens of Nebraska have sovereignty over their own lands. Europe doesn’t want Tar Sands’ oil. The US doesn’t want the Tar Sands’ oil. And BC First Nations don’t want that filthy oil transported over their ancestral lands or being spilled in the waters off of Prince Rupert. The only form of treachery is the environmental destruction in getting this stuff to market. $$$$ the 1%!

Nov 16, 2011 9:22pm EST  --  Report as abuse
IanStephen wrote:
Ask the people of Fort Chipewyan whether this resource “is being responsibly developed and regulated”. This government, elected by some 24% of eligible voters, cares more for oil company profits than for Canadian’s lives. They call the opposition “treacherous”?

Nov 16, 2011 10:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
lulex wrote:
This article states “Two senior government officials said a few hundred people who protested peacefully in Ottawa against the pipeline were extremists.”
First off, I was amoung those arrested. I am a housewife from Waterloo Ontario. Just a mom. At the event I met forestry experts, geologists, retired school teachers, students, grandparents etc. Good overall demograph of typical society actually. The only thing that really linked us all was an overwhelming sense of concern for our community and families. We know about climate change, we were all educated on the issues and individually paid our way to be there. I paid my hotel, transportation costs. There was no major sponsor or anything. We were simply concerned citizens united in an effort to raise attention to a very serious issue. We were neither extremists nor were we paid for at all. It’s defamatory what these ministers have said and as a participant of this event, I would like an apology.

Nov 17, 2011 2:37pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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