Energy ministers began meeting in Kananaskis, Alta., yesterday to start laying the groundwork for a national energy strategy, but there are widely diverging views about what such a policy should look like.

Federal Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver and some of his provincial and territorial counterparts visited oilsand sites in Alberta on Sunday and Monday before heading to the Rocky Mountain retreat.

Oliver said the tour reinforced his view that the oilsands can be developed in a sustainable way, and doing so is a “tremendous” benefit to Canada.

“The government of Canada and my provincial colleagues are concerned that we exploit this resource in a socially and environmentally acceptable way, but that we do exploit it for the benefit of Canadians,” Oliver said.

Meanwhile, a group of environmental groups took out a full-page ad in the western edition of The Globe and Mail newspaper, asking if the meeting would be “All Hat, No Cattle” — a metaphor for empty talk.