Nobel Prize-winning Canadian author Alice Munro attends a ceremony held by the Royal Canadian Mint to celebrate her win where they unveiled a silver five-dollar coin at the Great Victoria Public Library on Monday, March 24, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Alice Munro among Nobel Prize winners urging Trudeau to deny Alberta oilsands project

Alberta premier says Teck’s Frontier mine would create 7,500 jobs, $70 billion in government revenue

Canadian author Alice Munro and dozens of other Nobel Prize winners around the world have joined the heated opposition facing a massive oilsands project in northern Alberta, decrying the proposed development as “a disgrace.”

Munro, Canadian biologist Jack W. Szostak and 40 other global winners from various fields signed a letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland urging them to deny the Teck Resources Ltd. plan, as well as any expansion of the fossil-fuel sector.

“The mere fact that they warrant debate in Canada should be seen as a disgrace,” states the letter, which appeared on the Guardian’s website Friday.

“They are wholly incompatible with your government’s recent commitment to net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. And with clear infringements on First Nations rights, such projects fly in the face of rhetoric and purported efforts towards reconciliation.”

The signatories call fossil-fuel projects “an affront to our state of climate emergency,” and say the “importance of leadership in the coming few years cannot be understated.”

A decision on the $20.6-billion, 260,000-barrel-per-day Frontier project is supposed to come next week.

The project is expected to produce about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year over 40 years.

Those in favour of the proposal say it will create thousands of jobs and bolster Alberta’s struggling economy. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Friday it would create 7,500 jobs and $70 billion of government revenue.

He also touted “cutting-edge technology” that would allow the Vancouver-based miner to produce oil with half the carbon emissions of an average barrel produced in North America.

Kenney told reporters in Calgary that he suspected the signatories were presented with a distorted view of the Frontier project.

“Many interest groups have been misrepresenting the Canadian oilsands as being the equivalent of thermal coal for example, which is manifestly ridiculous. It is counterfactual,” said Kenney.

“Our challenge … is to show the world a path forward about how we can extract energy with a shrinking environmental and carbon footprint. That’s exactly what we’ll do.”

Meanwhile, the company itself said it was committed to fostering a low-carbon economy.

READ MORE: Teck Resources aims to be ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050

“Lower carbon oil from Frontier would replace higher carbon sources and contribute to reducing global emissions,” spokesman Chris Stannell said in an emailed statement.

Kenney also said the project was supported by 14 nearby First Nations and Metis communities and suggested the expected benefits would directly improve the lives of Indigenous people.

Nevertheless, opposition has been fierce.

Critics have raised questions about how the mammoth dig would impact woodland caribou, old-growth forests, and waterfowl habitat.

And in public letters sent last week to the federal government and other chiefs, Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam said he was worried that Alberta’s failure to consult and take meaningful action on environmental concerns could jeopardize the project.

Munro won the 2013 literature prize while Szostak won the 2009 prize in medicine. Other signatories include Bangladeshi banker Muhammad Yunus, who won the peace prize in 2006, South African-born novelist John Coetzee, who won the literature prize in 2003, and Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek who won the 2004 literature prize.

The Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

OilsandsPipeline

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Reflecting on former Kootenay MLA Ed Conroy’s legacy

Former BC cabinet minister and Kootenay MLA Ed Conroy passed away June 26

Conserving all-Canadian wildlife just one part of the puzzle

“Canada plays a critical role in protecting many of these plants and animals.”

Salmo RCMP arrest three, seize $15,000

The three adult men have been charged with “Conspiracy to Commit an Offence.”

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Rosslanders celebrate Canada Day in style

Locals organized a museum scavenger hunt, a Mt. Roberts flag-raising ceremony and evening fireworks

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Most Read