Peter Kent should come clean: Minister of Environment or Oil Sands Propaganda

Feature story - January 28, 2011
Greenpeace today attended Peter Kent’s inaugural speech as a federal Minister to ask him to come clean and tell Canadians if he’s prepared to be a proper environment minister or a propagandist for dirty oil.

Greenpeace activists provided a package of new business cards and letterhead to Kent at his speech to the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto today. The materials were emblazoned with the title “Minister of Oil Sands Promotion and Propaganda.”

“Canada needs an Environment Minister who is actually committed to protecting the environment not someone who is committed to being the mouth piece for multinational tar sands companies,” said Mike Hudema, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace in Alberta. “We need a Minister of the Environment, not a Minister of Oil Sands Promotion and Propaganda.”

An activist asked Kent to accept the re-branding package as an oil industry propagandist if he’s not prepared to behave as a Minister who is supposed to protect the environment and ensure that Canada achieves its climate change commitments.

“The Harper government appears to have quietly changed the Environment Ministry to the Ministry of Oil Sands Promotion and Propaganda. Who better to run it than Peter Kent, a former broadcaster, who has thought defending the polluters in the tar sands is more important than protecting the environment from their dangerous operations,” said Hudema. “The Harper government needs to stop fueling the problem and start building a green jobs future for Canada.”

As a first step, Greenpeace calls on the Harper government to stop promoting Canada’s belching tar sands industry and instead phase out fossil fuel subsidies in the upcoming federal budget. The International Institute for Sustainable Development has calculated that federal subsidies to the oil industry are at $1.4 billion a year.