Toronto, ON – Yesterday, Marcel Coutu, CEO of Canadian Oil Sands Trust, a major partner in Syncrude, confirmed what many have alleged for months – that the tar sands industry wants the rest of Canadian industry to do even more to cut emissions so that tar sands pollution can continue to grow.
“The tar sands industry seems to think it has some divine right to not only make our children pay for its irresponsibility, but also to burden the rest of the Canadian economy with the task of making its pollution cuts,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence.
Environment Minister Jim Prentice has been consulting behind closed doors with industry and the provinces on the shape of a national cap and trade system and says he will release details this year. There have been reports that special treatment for the tar sands, for example in the form of ‘intensity targets’ while others get hard caps, is still on the table. Minister Prentice has never produced evidence to the contrary.
“The provinces of Quebec, Ontario, industry and labour groups from across Canada need to stand up today and say loudly and clearly to Minister Prentice that they will not shoulder the burden of the tar sands in a cap and trade system,” said Gillian McEachern of ForestEthics.
A national Angus Reid poll released in August posed this exact question of whether pollution cuts should be even across the country or else be different to allow the tar sands to grow. The poll found that sixty per cent (60%) of Canadians wanted pollution cuts to be the same, twenty-four per cent (24%) supported different rules for oil sands companies, and sixteen per cent (16%) didn’t know.
If no controls are put in place, tar sands emissions are projected to triple over the next decade. Under a national hard cap, if this is permitted then other sectors will need to cut even further to compensate. Ontario and Quebec, two provinces that have taken serious steps to address climate change in the void of federal action, could be asked to shoulder up to 100 million tonnes of additional emissions cuts.
Environmental Defence and ForestEthics released a report, “Divided We Fall”, showing how special treatment for the tar sands will affect other sectors and provinces. The report is available to download for free on the Environmental Defence web site at and the ForestEthics web site at
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For more information or to arrange interviews contact:        
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)
Gillian McEachern, ForestEthics, (416) 938-6032 (cell)