Canadian official reveals damage eco-activists have wreaked on country’s energy security

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Joe Biden greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Build Back Better World initiative, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, during the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)
Joe Biden greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Build Back Better World initiative, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, during the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland.

By Nick Pope
Daily Caller News Foundation

Rebecca Schulz — the minister of environment and protected areas of Alberta, Canada — sat down with the Daily Caller News Foundation at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C. to discuss how climate activists, along with the country’s left-wing government, have hampered Canada’s energy security.

Alberta is a province in Western Canada that is known for its abundant natural resources, especially oil and natural gas. However, the federal government in Ottawa — led by liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — has moved to restrict development in the province, harming the many blue-collar Canadians who rely on affected industries to make a living, Schulz explained to the DCNF.

“We have seen, over the last number of years, the activist, radical left starting to shape policy in a way that is, I think, very concerning, not only for just the basic needs of everyday people when it comes to safe, affordable, reliable energy, but I think, when it comes to to energy security,” Schulz told the DCNF.

“Certainly, we have a prime minister that is completely just bending to the activist base and ignoring, I think, the very real concerns of everyday commonsense as Canadians, and that’s a problem,” Schulz told the DCNF, referencing Trudeau. Later in the interview, Schulz predicted that Canadian voters will “vastly reject” Trudeau when they next head to the polls, in large part due to “the woke, ideological policies” that his government has pursued.

In Canada, one such official with deep ties to the climate activist movement shaping policy is Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault. A former Greenpeace activist who once scaled Toronto’s iconic CN Tower and climbed on the roof of a government official’s private residence to install solar panels in acts of protest, Guilbeault has stated that he does not seek to implement a “secret agenda” of policies aligned with his activist past while in office, according to CBC, a Canadian news outlet.

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Notably, the Biden administration counts numerous former activists among its ranks, including Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Tracey Stone-Manning, who was connected to radical eco-activists concocting a tree spiking plot in Idaho in the late 1980s. BLM manages federally-controlled lands for uses like energy production and livestock grazing.

“It’s really problematic because it is completely ideologically driven and devoid of common sense and the realities that people are facing every single day. And I think, you know, of course, people do care about the environment. I, of course, as minister of the environment, I care that we’re doing the right thing for the environment that we’re leaving,” Schulz continued. “You know, the places that we live, and where we develop our resources from, we’re maintaining that for future generations. But I also know that we could not survive a day without oil and gas, or products made from oil and gas and petrochemicals. And that fact isn’t changing. That, in fact, is growing so, I think it’s pretty concerning that they are also then trying to essentially stifle any opinions or statistics or facts that don’t support their narrative.”

Canada is one of America’s biggest energy suppliers, providing about 52% of all gross oil imports in 2023 and exporting nearly three trillion cubic feet of natural gas to the U.S. in 2022, according to the Canadian Energy Centre. Most of the fuel comes to America via cross-border pipelines, though some is also delivered by rail or by sea, according to a 2021 report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute.

The Keystone XL pipeline, a major project that would have helped bring oil from Alberta to refineries along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the U.S., was set to be a new expansion to the systems that bring Canadian energy to America.

However, activists waged a major pressure campaign against the project, and its developers ultimately scuttled it in June 2021 after the Biden administration nixed a crucial permit and generally showed minimal enthusiasm for the project upon entering office, according to The Associated Press.

“Projects like that, of that size and scope, obviously take a significant amount of political will,” Schulz said of Keystone XL. “And I think that was a hugely disappointing decision, because we know that market access matters for energy security and meeting the needs of, I would say, Canadians and Americans, and people around the world.”

Notably, Brent Sadler — a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy who now works as a senior research fellow for naval warfare and advanced technology at the Heritage Foundation — agrees with Schulz’s assessment that Keystone XL would have been a positive development for North American energy security.

In a recently-published report assessing American energy security in light of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) geopolitical ambitions, Sadler argued that policymakers impose “unnecessary restraints” on cross-border energy interconnection, and that security interests would be better served if they instead “get out of the way” and “permit cross-border energy infrastructure projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline.”

For now, Schulz will turn much of her focus to the Trudeau government’s proposed emissions cap for the oil and gas industry, which could see the government require energy producers to slash their emissions by about 37% relative to 2022 levels by 2030, according to Reuters. Its opponents — many of whom are located in Alberta — are characterizing the policy as a thinly-veiled production cap that will severely hurt the province’s workers and regional economy.

If finalized, the policy “would kill thousands of jobs, I would say tens of thousands of jobs, just directly in conventional oil and gas, not to mention what we’re seeing in oil sands and, of course, other related industries,” Schulz told the DCNF. “We just have a federal government that doesn’t look at any socioeconomic data on the impacts that their policy would have … No competent, responsible government would see those numbers and move ahead with that cap, but that is, in fact, what our federal Liberal government is doing in Canada.”

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