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Energy giants reach out to voters ahead of fall election

Last Updated Aug 1, 2019 at 9:40 am MDT

Wildlife crossings are strategically placed approximately every 400 metres over MEG Energy’s above-group pipelines at Christina Lake (PHOTO: MEG Energy)

CALGARY – Three of Canada’s biggest oilsands producers are going directly to voters to ask them to tell politicians they support the oil and gas sector ahead of this fall’s federal election.

In full-page ads in about 30 English and French daily newspapers, the CEOs of Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy and MEG Energy ask readers to call on “leaders of all political stripes” to lend their support for the energy industry.

“The choices we make will determine the quality of life we create for ourselves and future generations,” the letter reads. “These choices will impact our ability to fund schools, hospitals, parks and the social programs that we as Canadians so deeply value.”

MEG Energy CEO Derek Evans says the campaign is coming out now because that’s when politicians are meeting voters at barbecues and picnics.

“I’ve been in this business for a long time. I’ve dealt with NDP governments, Liberal governments and Conservative governments. It’s not the governments that need to change, it’s the message the people of the country send to those governments.”

Evans said the campaign is not partisan and he, for one, won’t be unhappy if the Liberals are re-elected, as long as they agree to support the oil and gas sector.

“We’re behind the eight-ball here in terms of making sure that Canadians know that our industry is one that embraces the global climate change challenge, that we have been and continue to be actively engaged in creating solutions to that.”

The open letter concedes greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced but defends the environmental record of the oilsands, contending that emissions intensity per barrel produced has fallen by about 30 per cent over the past two decades.

“We’ve reduced the emissions intensity in the oil sands by about 30% over the past two decades, and a number of oil sands operations are producing oil with a smaller greenhouse gas impact than the global average. We’re working to get those numbers even lower.”

The letter also says Canada’s energy companies produce a product that continues to be needed despite the growth of renewable energy.