Steven Guilbeault hesitates in his defense of the Bay du Nord oil project

Steven Guilbeault hesitates in his defense of the Bay du Nord oil project

Steven Guilbeault

The defense of the Bay du Nord oil project does not seem natural for the minister of the Environment, Steven Guilbeault, who nevertheless approved it the day before. During his appearance on the radio program Tout un matin d’ICI Première on Thursday, he hesitated to say if he would have approved the project if he was alone in the Council of Ministers.

Host Patrick Masbourian questioned Minister Guilbeault, a former environmental activist and MP for Laurier-Sainte-Marie in Montreal, at length about his approval of this megaproject of 60 oil extraction wells that will see the light of day off the coast of Newfoundland. .

“If you were alone in the Council of Ministers, would you have approved this project?” Asked the host to the minister. After a few seconds of hesitation, Steven Guilbeault first replied that it was “very hypothetical”. He then stressed that he “obviously did not come into politics to announce oil projects”. He then made a point of recalling that he is no longer the representative of an ecological organization and that he must now make his decisions “in the best public interest”.

Before entering politics , Mr. Guilbeault became known as a spokesperson for Équiterre.

The project “the least emitter in world”

To defend the project, Steven Guilbeault explained in particular that the Bay du Nord project is probably among the oil projects that emit the least greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the world. “To give an order of magnitude, it's ten times less greenhouse gas per barrel of oil produced than an oil sands project,” he mentioned on the show.

Patrick Bonin, head of the Climate-Energy campaign at Greenpeace Canada and also a guest on the show, insists, for his part, on the fact that “clean oil does not exist”.

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About 85% of oil-related emissions are when we consume it, when we burn it.

Patrick Bonin, Climate-Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Canada

“It There are no surprises”

Minister Guilbeault also recalled that the increase in oil production in Canada was already provided for in the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan tabled last week, a plan which has been hailed by Greenpeace. He therefore understands that environmentalists are angry, but recalls that there is “no surprise” there.

For his part, Mr. Bonin insisted on correcting the Minister's remarks. He claims that Greenpeace had simply wanted to highlight the fact that, for the first time, the government had a plan that included a significant reduction in emissions from the oil and gas sector. He added, however, that the government’s plan was far from ambitious enough and had “major problems”.

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