Kenney, Notley both upset with Trudeau's choice of environment minister
A pair of rival Alberta politicians had a rare moment of agreement on Tuesday: both are unhappy with the prime minister's pick for environment minister.
Steven Guilbeault, formerly a leader of Greenpeace Quebec and co-founder of Equiterre, was appointed to the position by Justin Trudeau Tuesday.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he was worried Guilbeault would impose a "radical agenda that would lead to mass unemployment."
Both Equiterre and Guilbeault were mentioned in the final report of a commission, struck in July 2019, to look into allegations that environmentalists were accepting foreign money to fund campaigns aimed at impeding expansion of Alberta's oilsands, a major source of greenhouse gases.
The inquiry found Canadian environmental groups were exercising their democratic rights of free speech when they accepted foreign funding for campaigns opposing oilsands development, which the Alberta government has coloured wrong depite not being illegal. Equiterre, the report's commissioner wrote, sought to "frustrate" oil sands development.
Guilbeault left Equiterre in 2018.
"I hope that he will send a signal that he is willing to work constructively and cooperatively with us, as partners, in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy," Kenney said.
NDP Leader Rachel Notley agreed with Kenney before quickly adding it's his government's job to sell Alberta's industry and environmental initiatives.
"I share some of the concerns about some of the historical positions taken by that minister in the past, some of his anti-pipeline commentary, that is certainly troubling," she said.
"After 30 years of fighting climate change outside of government, I am humbled and I am honoured to be given the opportunity to accelerate our fight against climate change as Canada’s new Minister of Environment and Climate Change," Guilbeault tweeted.
The new minister said one of his first assignments was to attend an upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Scotland.
Notley said Kenney or Environment Minister Jason Nixon should join him there to promote Alberta's industry.
Nixon called Guilbeault a "radical environmentalist" and invited him to come out west so he can see Alberta oil and gas operations for himself.
Some environmental groups applauded Guilbeault's appointment.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Chelan Skulski and The Canadian Press