Cabinet shuffle signals support for climate, not oil and gas


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By Natasha Bulowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet signals strong support for climate policy but may not be well-received in Alberta, says a political science professor.
Former minister of environment and climate change Jonathan Wilkinson is now minister of natural resources and long-time environmentalist Steven Guilbeault is taking over as environment minister.
These appointments signal environment and climate change are top priorities for the federal government, and “there will not be huge attention to the kinds of regional and industry-related concerns that Alberta has been putting forward,” says Lisa Young, a professor of political science at the University of Calgary.
“Seeing that natural resources portfolio go to someone who's moved from the environment (post), somebody who's not from Western Canada, I think sends a signal,” she said.
While Wilkinson’s appointment doesn’t signal support for “traditional oil and gas industry in Alberta,” Young says it does indicate support for an energy transition.
“It's not going to be seen as being conciliatory toward Alberta or the government of Alberta, but that doesn't mean that it's not in Alberta's best interest,” she said.
After 30 years of fighting climate change outside of government, I am humbled and I am honoured to be given the opportunity to accelerate our fight against climate change as Canada’s new Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
— Steven Guilbeault (@s_guilbeault) October 26, 2021

Guilbeault’s reception in his new role could prove similar to the abusive reaction Catherine McKenna received when she was appointed environment minister in 2015, Young said.
Because of Guilbeault’s dedication to the climate file both inside and outside of politics and his roots in Quebec, she anticipates conservative circles in Alberta may...continued

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