Former environment minister Jim Prentice told U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson that he was prepared to step in and impose tougher regulations on the oilsands if the industry damaged Canada's green reputation, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks.
"[Prentice] noted that if industry did not take voluntary measures and if the provincial government did not set more stringent regulations, he would step in and press federal environmental legislation," according to the cable, apparently written by Jacobson.
According to the cable, which recounts a meeting between Jacobson and Prentice on Nov. 5, 2009, Prentice expressed his concerns about the media focus on the oilsands and the possible impact on Canada's green standing on the world stage.
Prentice said that during a trip to Norway, he was shocked at the public's sentiment toward the oilsands and the debate about whether or not to invest in "dirty oil," the cable says.
The cable indicates that Prentice felt the federal government was "too slow" to react to the dirty oil label and "and failed to grasp the magnitude of the situation."
"At the end of the day, Prentice wants Canada to be billed as the most environmentally conscious energy superpower," according to the cable.
Last month, Prentice resigned from politics to join the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.