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Provincial ministers call oilsands a ‘jewel’

The oilsands were called a “Canadian jewel” yesterday by a trio of Alberta cabinet ministers dispatched to Toronto to scrub clean the “dirty oil” image of oilsands development.

The oilsands were called a “Canadian jewel” yesterday by a trio of Alberta cabinet ministers dispatched to Toronto to scrub clean the “dirty oil” image of oilsands development.

“My role on this mission is to bring some balance into this discussion,” said Rob Renner, the province’s environment minister.

“I think that there is an impression left out there that this is the Wild West, unregulated.
“Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The Alberta team, rounded out by Energy Minister Ron Liepert and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Iris Evans, will spend several days in Central Canada spreading what it calls “Alberta’s story.”

The Canadian Energy Research Institute, they noted, estimates the oilsands will create $307 billion in tax revenue across Canada over the next 25 years. Some 23 per cent of oilsands-related employment is generated outside the province, the ministers added.

Ontario businesses can benefit from the responsible management of the oilsands, they said.

Opponents argue that “dirty oil” from oilsands projects negatively impacts the environment and economy.

Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence said oil exports have driven up the value of the Canadian dollar, hurting rather than helping Ontario manufacturers.

She added that increased development means more toxic chemicals will appear in Alberta’s waters.

 
 
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