McGuinty anti-Alberta comments highlight need for education, Tory MP says

David Akin, Parliamentary Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 1:02 PM ET

OTTAWA — A Conservative MP says Parliament can do more to educate Canadians about the benefits of the country’s oil-and-gas sector.

Blaine Calkins, a Conservative MP from Alberta, opened a meeting Thursday of the House of Commons natural resources committee by saying he was “deeply offended” and “discouraged” by comments made Tuesday by Ontario Liberal MP David McGuinty, who suggested Alberta MPs were “shilling” for Alberta’s oil-and-gas sector and were ignoring the national interest by focusing on finding new markets and opportunities for Western Canadian energy resources.

On Wednesday, McGuinty, who represents a federal Ottawa riding, apologized for his “go back to Alberta” remarks and resigned from his position as the Liberal natural resources critic. As natural resources critic, McGuinty was the lone Liberal MP on the 11-member committee.

Toronto Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett took that spot for Thursday’s committee meeting and, before it got underway, Calkins welcomed Bennett’s participation but said McGuinty’s comments led Calkins to conclude that more needed to be done to tell Canadians about the benefits of the oil-and-gas sector.

“For the edification, or re-edification, of members on this committee, (we should) study and understand the economic benefits of the impacts on the broader economy in general of our oil-and-gas sector, particularly the oil sands in Alberta and Saskatchewan,” Calkins said.

The natural resources sector is currently considering ways that the federal government can encourage innovation across all of Canada’s energy sector.


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