In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Oil Sands Visit

Posted 9/9/2010 by Grant Mitchell

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Last week Senator Elaine McCoy organized yet another one of her annual visits for senators to the oil sands. She has done it each year since 2006.

The visit involves a trip to Calgary for meetings with a variety of actors in the oil sands development and related issues. She includes oil executives and environmentalists among others. The point is to get an in depth briefing on what is a very complex issue, technically, politically and environmentally, before actually visiting the oil sands themselves. These meetings take three or four days.

And then it is on to Fort McMurray for a tour of plants and tailings ponds and everything in between.  No punches are pulled.

The reaction by the senators is strong and interesting. They are invariably hugely impressed by what they have seen and the people who have shown them it all. They understand the critical role that the oil sands play in the Canadian and Albertan economies. They also understand the imperative to do something about the water, land, and climate change/environmental implications of the industry. They can also see that the people involved in this industry understand the problem and are getting more and more intense about fixing these problems.

Good for Senator McCoy for putting these visits together. They are the kind of initiative that brings interests together, promotes east/west understanding, and provides more information and understanding to those who make decisions. All good.

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