An Alberta senator has invited Quebec’s premier to visit the western Canadian province after François Legault made contentious comments about Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
Earlier this month at the First Ministers’ meeting, Legault called Alberta oil “dirty energy.”
Friday, Sen. Doug Black published the invitation on his website, saying: “This might be the ideal time to offer the opportunity to deepen your understanding of responsible energy development and its contribution to Canada.”
Black joined Rob Breakenridge Monday on 770 CHQR in Calgary to further explain the motivation behind the invitation.
LISTEN: Sen. Doug Black joins Rob Breakenridge to discuss inviting the Quebec premier and Bill C-69
“I, like many, many Albertans, read his comments and the very politest way to put it is: he seems to be misinformed. So I thought: I’m going to take the opportunity, rather than criticizing — which was certainly my first reaction — to invite him out here, to travel with him around Alberta for a couple of days.”
If Legault accepts, Black would take the Quebec leader around to communities like Calgary, Fort McMurray and the refinery district in eastern Edmonton to meet with families, businesses and local leaders.
“We’re not robber-barons out here. We’re not environmental terrorists. We are responsible Canadians who deserve respect.”
Black hopes to drive home two main points.
“The fact that the energy industry is the cleanest energy industry in the world, that we have the lowest carbon footprint for an energy producer in the world, that we have meaningful engagements with First Nations communities everywhere, and that we are responsible providers for energy.
“And, by the way, premier, when you’re here, you know that you get $13.1 billion in equalization money next year, and of course you must know that the majority of that money comes from Alberta.”
When asked why Albertans should be concerned with what an eastern Canadian premier has to say about the oil and gas industry, Black provided a pair of perspectives.
“The business answer for me is that I would rather see Canadian oil consumed in Canada rather than foreign oil, full stop, and we can do that if we have the Energy East pipeline.”
“The political reason is that people in this province are now really angry. It’s moved from anxiety and concern to anger. People are angry about how they feel Canada is treating Alberta.”
Black hopes Legault will make good on his comments and apologize, but also said the Quebec premier must be aware of how his comments resonated in the west.
“He must know he stepped in a major cow pie here.”