Victoria mayor says she’ll keep an open mind on oilsands tour

Click to play video 'Victoria mayor Lisa Helps to travel to Alberta oil sands' Victoria mayor Lisa Helps to travel to Alberta oil sands
WATCH: Victoria mayor Lisa Helps says she's going into her tour of the Alberta oil sands with an open mind.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is promising to keep an open mind as she tours an oilsands facility on Friday.

Helps will join Calgary city Coun. Jeff Davidson to visit the Cenovus’ Foster Creek facility, which is a steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) peoject.

READ MORE: Victoria mayor to tour Alberta oilsands project

Canada Action, the resource industry advocacy group that organized the trip, said the SAGD technique is used in 97 per cent of the oilsands land area, as well as for 80 per cent of reserves and about half of current production.

Helps says she wants to learn more about the industry and the innovations that companies are adopting. She says she’s also interested in hearing directly from workers, particularly with the current unemployment rate in Alberta.

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“There’s not a robust dialogue [about the industry] that makes democracy strong,” she said. “So I feel like even if I continue to have challenges and problems with the oil industry, with oil and gas extraction, I’ll have a broader perspective, I’ll have a deeper understanding, I’ll have met humans there doing that important work.”

READ MORE: Victoria backs climate change lawsuit against energy industry, is accused of hypocrisy in Alberta

Helps has been a consistent opponent of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, but says she’s going into the trip with an open mind.

“We’ve got less than 12 years now to clean up our act, to phase to a low-carbon or no-carbon economy,” she said.

“That’s the direction that the scientists think we need to go, direction the feds think we need to go, that’s certainly the direction our region thinks we need to go.”

Calgary City Council invited Helps and the Victoria council to Alberta in February, after Victoria endorsed a class action lawsuit seeking compensation from oil and gas companies for damages caused by climate change.