Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes questions at a town hall meeting in Calgary on Jan. 24, 2017. (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CP)At a town hall in Ontario earlier this month, Trudeau was criticized for saying the oilsands would need to be phased out eventually. At the close of a Calgary cabinet retreat earlier Tuesday, he said he misspoke.
The man asked Trudeau whether he would take back the remark, prompting cheers from some in the crowd of more than 1,700.
Trudeau said even former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper recognized the world would have to get off fossil fuels eventually. He asked the crowd of mostly students to put up their hands if they think climate change is real and virtually everyone did. A few other questions at the town hall touched on the economic pain Alberta has been going through in recent years as a result of low oil prices.
The unemployment rate in Alberta, where the economy largely centres on the oil and gas sector, was at 8.5 per cent in December, higher than the national rate of 6.9 per cent. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs over the past few years.
"I have repeatedly said that yes, the responsibility of any Canadian prime minister is to get our resources to market and yes, that includes our oilsands fossil fuels."Trudeau was also grilled on Canada's future peacekeeping role, trade, violence against indigenous women and strategies to tackle poverty. A handful of hecklers interrupted Trudeau throughout the event at the University of Calgary. Trudeau responded by drawing on his past life as a teacher, telling one man he didn't want to reward bad behaviour by giving it too much attention. Trudeau and the federal cabinet wrapped up a two-day retreat in Calgary earlier Tuesday that was focused largely on how to deal with an unpredictable new administration south of the border.
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