Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media at the end of a two-day cabinet retreat in Calgary, Alberta, Canada January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Bolin – RTSX74S
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was called out for his fuzzy energy policy at his Tuesday night Calgary town hall meeting. A man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat – a souvenir direct from President Donald Trump’s election campaign – said that Trudeau was either “a liar or confused.”
“You’re in Alberta now, sir. You’re not in Ottawa,” he shouted.
Earlier, Trudeau reversed himself on his oil sands policy – the oil rich patch of land in Alberta that has become an ideological war zone between energy security advocates and environmental activists. Trudeau now says he “misspoke” when he told an Ontario town hall that the oil sands will be “phased-out.”
“I misspoke. I said something the way I shouldn’t have said it,” Trudeau said after emerging from a two-day cabinet retreat in downtown Calgary, where Trudeau received the welcome news that the U.S. has approved the Keystone XL pipeline, a key to reviving Canada’s energy sector that has been depressed by low oil prices and lack of access to oil refineries.
That remark enraged political and business leaders in Western Canada at the time and last night’s recalibration angered many at the town as Trudeau’s questioner continued, “When you come to Calgary, you tell people you’re sorry. You are either a liar or you’re confused. And I’m beginning to think it’s both.”
Most of the 1,700 people cheered at the accusation.
Instead of acknowledging any ambiguity in his energy policy, Trudeau claimed absolute consistency, suggesting that he could promote oil pipelines concurrent with controversial climate change legislation. “I have repeatedly said that yes, the responsibility of any Canadian prime minister is to get our resources to market and yes, that includes our oil sands fossil fuels,” he said.
“I’ve also said that we need to do that in a responsible, sustainable way — that you cannot separate what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy.”
But Calgary Conservative Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel told The Daily Caller that Trudeau “doesn’t understand the state of despair in Calgary.” She says the accusation of Trudeau being either a liar or confused was justifiable: “that person was absolutely in his right to say that. Was it too strong? I don’t think the federal government’s response to the economic crisis here has been strong enough.”
Rempel says Trudeau continues to focus on more environmental regulations because of “ideological opposition” to the energy sector. “He needs to ask himself how the Canadian economy will fare when we have a jurisdiction to the south of us that says ‘we’re open for business.’” she says.