Green Party leaders have fired a shot directly at the Liberal cabinet following a high-profile meeting between two federal ministers and executives from Shell.

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Monday that he, alongside Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, was “pleased to host” Shell’s first global board of directors meeting.

“With a strong and historic presence in our country, Shell is our reliable partner,” he shared on social media. “Together, we can and will pave the way for tomorrow's green economy.”

Green Party Deputy Leader Jonathan Pedneault called it “extraordinarily naive or downrightly twisted” to “flirt with Big Oil companies as our country burns.”

“You wouldn’t wine and dine tobacco executives and ask them for their advice if you were leading a national campaign against lung cancer,” he said in a statement. “How can the Liberals claim to be climate champions and then cheer on one of the most awful oil companies in existence?"

Shell divested many of its oilsands assets in 2017 but maintains a massive presence in the country’s fossil fuel sector. It owns refineries in Alberta and Ontario and a carbon capture facility that emits more planet-warming greenhouse gases than it captures and is a dominating player in the emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, owning 40 per cent of the LNG Canada export facility and hundreds of gas wells in British Columbia to supply the export terminal.

Despite making a record profit of US$40 billion last year, Shell has abandoned a raft of clean energy investments, including offshore wind, hydrogen and biofuels, with a plan of reinvesting in fossil fuels, Reuters reported earlier in this month. Members of Shell’s board of directors are also personally being sued over the oil giant’s climate strategy, which critics say is severely lacking. And as the Green Party notes in its criticism of the Liberal ministers’ meeting, like ExxonMobil, Shell’s own scientists were aware of the catastrophic harm its products were causing decades ago and took steps to hide this reality from the public.

“The effects of global warming are now beyond detectable, they are breathable, visible and deeply disturbing to most Canadians who are struggling to cope with what looks like a summer from hell," said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. "Rather than feting industry executives, Canada's government should be preparing our own court case for damages caused by these companies for the multibillion-dollar annual cost of extreme weather events driven by climate change.”

On behalf of Champagne, spokesperson Audrey Champoux said he is focused on “making Canada prosper” by working toward making the country a leader in the low-carbon economy.

“You wouldn’t wine and dine tobacco executives and ask them for their advice if you were leading a national campaign against lung cancer," says @j_pedneault. #cdnpoli

"Minister Champagne will continue to meet with companies committed to decarbonizing key sectors of our economy,” Champoux said. “That's why he agreed to meet with Shell executives, to discuss decarbonizing the rail network and new sustainable fuels in the aviation sector.”

Updates and corrections

| Corrections policy
July 4, 2023, 10:15 am

A sentence referred to Shell by its previous name, Royal Dutch Shell.

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Trouble with the Liberals, who are the lesser of all evils on climate change, do talk-the talk a lot, but tend to do only so much than they really should. I know tackling climate change is politically a hard thing, but the Liberals really do need to grab the bull by the horns and do a better job. But having said that, it would be a lot worse if the conservatives were in charge.

The Liberals need to end the oil &gas subsidies if they are to be taken serious on climate change.

On the same topic, I know the carbon measures are there partly to also push Canadians more towards EVs, but what is available is pathetic in the market place. It seems the auto makers have only catered to the rich and not the bulk of vehicle owners today. I refuse to buy anything Tesla and expect that GM and Ford should have already stepped up to the plate with EVs for the masses, but have failed to do so already. Maybe 2024 or 2025, time will tell.

Thank you for boycotting Tesla.
Maybe some day a worker-and-customer owned co-op will manufacture good and serviceable EVs without bothering with all the fancy tracking devices that follow and record wherever you travel. But given our various governments' and industries' increasing demand for Surveillance of All, Everywhere, All the Time, that probably won't happen in any foreseeable future.

Liberals are not the lesser of all evils. We have more than two parties. Elect federal NDP and Green candidates.

Video from 32 years ago. A good question to ask them is why they didn't take more action in the interim since they clearly didn't shy away from acknowledging the issue so many decades ago.