FORT MCMURRAY, AB– Liberals are bringing a new approach to oil sands development by engaging all sides of the issue, said Liberal Leader Bob Rae today.
“The Liberal Party believes in development and job creation, but we also understand that unless it is environmentally responsible, development will not be sustainable and our country will suffer,” said Mr. Rae. “Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair want Canadians to believe that developing the Alberta oil sands is an either-or proposition. That is patently false. Liberals understand that we can reap the benefits of oil sands development and mitigate the environmental impact, but only if we engage and consult with parties on all sides of this issue.”
Mr. Rae is undertaking a three-day tour of the Alberta oil sands, which will include a tour of Syncrude’s mining and reclamation facilities, as well as meetings with a wide range of stakeholders from industry and environmental groups to provincial and municipal governments. This will include meetings with the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA), a multi-stakeholder organization that assesses the environmental impacts of oil sands development in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA), which monitors air quality in the area, and the Oil Sand Developers Group (OSDG), a non-profit, industry-funded association that works to address issues related to oil sands development. Moreover, Mr. Rae will meet with the Fort McKay First Nation and the Fort McKay Métis Local 63 emphasizing Canada’s responsibility to protect Aboriginal rights on matters including environmental protection and resource extraction.
“It is incumbent upon this generation of political leaders to ensure that the oil sands are developed sustainably, so that future generations can enjoy the benefits of a strong economy and a healthy environment,” said Mr. Rae. “Liberals are starting an inclusive dialogue on the oil sands beginning in Fort McMurray today, and it will continue as we work with all Canadians to understand the full nature of the decisions that must be made.”