THE 180

FYI Alberta, oil and bitumen are non-renewable resources

Recently, all four leaders of Alberta's political parties spoke out against Justin Trudeau when he said the oilsands should be phased out. But Edmonton's Ricardo Acuna says politicians and his fellow Albertans need to get their heads out of the sands.
In this archive photo, a service rig crew performs maintenance and repair work on an oilfield pumpjack and well head site near Halkirk, Alta. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)
Listen4:43
When did it become taboo to acknowledge publicly that oil generally, and bitumen in particular, is a finite non-renewable resource ?-Ricardo Acuna

That's the question on the mind of Edmonton's Ricardo Acuña, 

Acuña, the executive director of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta, couldn't help but notice the tone struck by provincial leaders when the Prime Minister said the oilsands will have to be phased out.

"Both the left-leaning Alberta government and the province's far right reacted to Trudeau's comments with a level of anger and outrage suggesting this was one of the greatest betrayals ever committed against the province," he says. 

While there may be something admirable about Alberta's politicians speaking with one voice, Acuña says the denial and disregard for the long-term future of Alberta's workers and the economy cannot be ignored. 

He'd like to see politicians acknowledge that bitumen production will have to be phased out and begin a concerted process of transition and scale-down, so that Albertans of all political stripes have jobs, government revenues, and a thriving economy into the future.

"Burying our heads in the sand and 'defending the oilsands' accomplishes none of that," he says. 

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