Debate continues about how the new Trudeau government will handle oil and gas development

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With the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, set to begin in just over a month, it remains to be seen what Canada takes to the table.  In the energy sector, there’s concern about how the Trudeau Liberals will address, striking the right balance between resource development and environmental protection, as opposed to how it’s been approached by the Harper Conservatives.

Trevor McLeod is the Director of the Centre for Natural Resources Policy for the Canada West Foundation and he notes last week’s federal election shows Tory Blue on the electoral map almost perfectly traces western oil and gas deposits.

He says Canada still has the food, energy and materials that the world needs and has ready access to the markets that need them the most, but he also says Western Canada still needs assurance that it will be able to compete in a changing world for market share.

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Mr. McLeod says it basically comes down to dealing with environmental concerns, without laying on so many costs, you make the country internationally uncompetitive.

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Meantime, the new government is also under pressure from environmental activists and they’re arguing they’re already getting mixed signals.

They note Mr. Trudeau campaigned on a pledge to put teeth into the federal environment review process, but that the National Energy Board has already muddied the waters by moving forward with new hearing dates for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project using the old process.

Kai Nagata of the Dogwood Initiative argues that’s causing problems for intervenors on both sides of the project debate.

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