Our response to today’s announcement about federal support for Big Oil

by Cam Fenton

Photo Credit: Climate Justice Edmonton. [ID: People from Alberta holding up letters spelling out “Bail Out People Not Big Oil”]

Earlier today, we got two big pieces of breaking news.

The first was a leaked letter from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) to our government laying out a list of demands for a massive oil bailout. It includes outrageous calls for climate regulation rollbacks, delaying laws that protect Indigenous rights, and suspending environmental monitoring. It even includes a demand to give Big Oil complete freedom to lobby the government without any regulation, reporting, or public oversight.

Second, in his morning announcement, Justin Trudeau spoke about government support for the oil industry. Thankfully, this announcement fell far short of what Big Oil is demanding. Instead, the focus was on providing funds for putting people to work cleaning up the thousands of abandoned oil wells all across Alberta. Trudeau announced $1.7 billion for orphaned oil well clean up and $750 million to help with methane reduction.

Taxpayers shouldn’t have to shoulder the paycheck for the oil industry’s neglect, but this announcement would have been a lot worse if tens of thousands of people, like you, didn’t speak up against a bailout for Big Oil. Our pressure is working. And the work is far from over.

We must keep up pressure to ensure that the government invests in a Just Recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic that prioritizes people over corporate interests.

As CAPP’s crass leaked letter makes clear, the fossil fuel industry sees the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to further corporate interests while the public focuses their attention on supporting one another’s immediate needs. And, you can be certain they are not happy with today’s announcement.

In the coming days and weeks, they will crank up their lobby pressure to try and extract more from the government. But we know that money, resources, and action coming from Ottawa need to go towards people, public health, and bringing us out of this pandemic ready to face down the climate crisis.

What we need is a Just Recovery that puts people first, helps workers, builds resilience for the future, and establishes solidarity across borders. You can sign or share these five principles for a Just Recovery supported by tens of thousands of people around the world here.

During his morning press conference, Justin Trudeau told reporters that “we can’t deal with one crisis by ignoring another — the climate crisis.” We will hold him to those words by fighting for a Just Recovery that brings us out of the COVID-19 crisis ready to tackle the climate crisis and create millions of decent jobs.

Pushing Canada to take real #climate leadership by freezing #tarsands and keeping fossil fuels in the ground. We're part of a global climate justice movement.