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 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

Just Posted

Mental Health: Erasing stigma leads to new path for Victoria woman

Paula Roumeliotis struggled with bipolar disorder for 35 years before finding support

COVID-19: UVic Engineering to 3-D print 4,000 face-shields for frontline workers

Team working to ensure Island health care workers have personal protective equipment

Health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

West Shore RCMP investigates bank robbery in Langford

People asked to stay clear of incident near Jacklin Road and Kelly Road

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

Independent investigation praises RCMP actions in Vancouver Island suicide attempt

Man hurt in incident that took place near Nanoose Bay in September of 2019

Most Read