Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault COP26. Photo by The Canadian Press

Canada’s Environments and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault doesn’t think Canadian oil could replace Russian oil in global energy markets, according to a story by the National Observer’s Local Journalism Initiative reporter Natasha Bulowski on March 2.

(Content provided by the federally-funded Local Journalism Initiative is available to all Canadian media.)

“There is clearly a crisis in Ukraine, just like we’re slowly emerging from the COVID crisis, and there will be other crises in the coming months and years,” Steven Guilbeault told Canada’s National Observer. “But climate change will not go away, and if we’re thinking we can solve the crisis by exacerbating another one, those people who think that are clearly mistaken.”

“The solution to global energy problems is not to increase our dependency on fossil fuels,” said Guilbeault. The best way to improve the energy security of European countries is to simply reduce dependence on oil and gas “regardless of where it’s coming from,” he said.

Even if Canada could build more pipelines to increase oil and gas capacity, this would take “a number of years” and wouldn’t address the crisis people in Ukraine and Europe are now facing, he added.

The real solution, he says, is to “quickly deploy renewables and cleantech” to reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas, the LJI story reported in the National Observer.

Guilbeault said similar words to Bloomberg, saying “Let’s be reasonable, we can’t help Europe with oil.”

President of the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors Mark Scholz was aghast at Guilbeault’s comments. In a post on LinkedIn, Scholz called it, “Unbelievably irresponsible.”

Scholz quoted Guilbeault’s Bloomberg’s statement. Scholz wrote, “I am without words from today’s statement from Canada’s Minister of Environment: “Our export capacity is pretty much maxed out. We’re building a pipeline. It’s just going in the wrong direction and the idea that we somehow could start to build a bunch of new infrastructure in Canada and it would magically happen – either for gas or for oil – is not very serious.”

“Our industry has been pleading with the federal government for years to help us build the necessary infrastructure to provide responsible and secure energy to the world … Energy East, Northern Gateway, Keystone XL. Minister, take some personal responsibility for your government’s inaction. You own this problem. Our world-class industry is ready to help, so get out of the way, and let Canada do its job.”


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