As the Country Burns, Liberal Ministers Host Oil and Gas Company Board Meeting

On June 26, two cabinet ministers - the Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson and the Hon. François-Philippe Champagne - attended the Royal Dutch Shell’s Global Board Meeting, wishing them a warm welcome to a country that is now burning and choking, in large parts because of this company’s historical responsibility and this government’s duplicity. 

Shell’s visit to Canada was no thing to celebrate. Shell recently announced plans to increase its fossil fuel production and is appealing a decision by a Dutch Court ordering them to cut emissions by 45% below 2019 levels by 2030. Yet two notoriously busy senior cabinet ministers took time to visit them and hail the company’s partnership in their vision of what a green economy would look like. Eight years after promising to build it and address climate change, it sends the dismal signal that the Liberal’s ‘green economy’ remains to be defined and is to be built in partnership with Big Oil companies. 

As investors and directors gathered in a room replete with cardboard trees and potted plants to greet this so-called progressive government’s ministers, our forests continue to burn at an unprecedented rate, spewing toxic plumes of ashes that are transforming America’s into postcards from an apocalyptic future. 

"It is either extraordinarily naive or downrightly twisted of the Liberals to continue to flirt with Big Oil companies as our country burns," said Jonathan Pedneault, Green Party Deputy Leader. "You wouldn’t wine and dine tobacco executives and ask them for their advice if you were leading a national campaign against lung cancer. How can the Liberals claim to be climate champions and then cheer on one of the most awful oil companies in existence?"

Alongside Exxon Mobile, Shell is notorious for having hid from the public studies in conducted in the 1980s that established in 1988 that fossil fuels were the main cause of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. « (…) by the time the global warming becomes detectable it could be too late to take effective countermeasures to reduce the effects or even to stabilize the situation,” the 1988 Shell study concluded. 

"The effects of global warming are now beyond detectable, they are breathable, visible and deeply disturbing to most Canadians who are struggling to cope with what looks like a summer from hell,"  said Elizabeth May, Green Party Leader. "Rather than feting industry executives, Canada's government should be preparing our own court case for damages caused by these companies for the multi-billion dollar annual cost of extreme weather events driven by climate change. Instead, our government celebrates their fakery and claims of responsible corporate citizenship."

Ministers Wilkinson and Champagne’s warm reception for Shell is no surprise. Over the past two months, Canadians learnt that their government had:

  1. Met with Oil and Gas lobbyists about 40% more than it had met with environmental groups;
  2. Consulted extensively with Suncor and a Shell executive to draft their first climate change strategy, which is yet to be released;
  3. Failed to spend most of the money promised on climate action since coming into office.

"The contrast between the all-hands-on-deck and collaborative approach the federal government was taking to respond to the wildfires, and how poorly we’ve responded over decades to the climate crisis that is fuelling these fires is blaring," concluded Mike Morrice, Green MP for Kitchener-Centre. " We know the solutions: we must end all fossil fuel subsidies and redirect those funds toward decarbonizing our energy and transportation systems. Nowhere here is the input of companies like Shell needed. "


For more information or to arrange an interview : 

Fabrice Lachance Nové

Press secretary