Trudeau faces down tough, pro-oil audience in Calgary
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was taken to task for comments he made about phasing out Alberta’s oilsands while speaking to Calgarians at a town hall on Tuesday night.
Trudeau emerged to a chorus of cheers but also some loud boos after being introduced by Veterans Affairs Minister and Calgary MP Kent Hehr.
WATCH BELOW: Trudeau met with mixed reaction at town hall
The prime minister spent much of the evening defending his vision to balance Canada’s economic and environmental goals.
Earlier in the day, Trudeau said he “misspoke” while speaking at a town hall in Peterborough, Ont. earlier this month. At the time, his comments caused a backlash in Canada’s oil country when he said Alberta’s oilsands would have to be phased out eventually.
Watch below: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday during the Liberal cabinet retreat in Calgary that he ‘misspoke’ about phasing out oilsands, something that caused controversy in Alberta.
“I said something the way I shouldn’t have said it,” Trudeau said Friday, at the end of a two-day Liberal cabinet retreat in Alberta’s largest city.
At one point during Tuesday evening’s town hall, a man wearing a shirt that said “I Love Oil Sands” and a hat that said “Make America Great Again,” asked pointed questions of the prime minister and accused him of speaking differently to different parts of the country.
“You’ve been saying two different messages,” the man said. “Down east, you’ve been telling people that you want to kill the single-biggest employer in our province.
“You’re in Alberta right now sir, you’re not in Ottawa,” the man said as cheers erupted at the town hall.” Yet, when you come to Calgary, you tell people you’re sorry… You’re either a liar or you’re confused.”
The man then asked Trudeau to once again retract the remark about phasing out the oilsands and to express his support for both the oilsands and the Keystone XL pipeline.
Trudeau responded by talking about how he had been consistent in his positions over the years. He asked for quiet as a chorus of boos and cheers drowned out his voice.
“I have repeatedly said, yes, the responsibility of any Canadian prime minister is to get our resources to market and yes, that includes our oilsands and fossil fuels,” he said.
“I’ve also said that we need to do that in a responsible, sustaianable way, that you cannot separate what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy.”
Trudeau then said former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper and his government tried to force a choice between the environment and the economy. They didn’t manage to see a pipeline built because they didn’t earn people’s trust that they would develop Canada’s natural resources responsibly, Trudeau said.
With hecklers yelling at him, Trudeau said Canada and the world would have to wean themselves off fossil fuels eventually and that even Stephen Harper understood that.
Trudeau then asked the hundreds of people at the town hall to raise their hands if they thought climate change was real and almost everyone raised their hand.
-With files from The Canadian Press
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