Environment Minister Shannon Phillips should immediately retract misleading statements she made about Alberta’s air quality and apologize for using these statements to alarm Albertans and impose far-left policies the NDP never campaigned on, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
In 2015, Phillips told a newspaper that Alberta was on track to have “the worst air quality in Canada.” At the time, she blamed the issue on coal plants, oil and gas facilities and personal vehicles. A new peer-reviewed report, however, has found that air quality outcomes around the province, including around oil and gas production areas, are not high and have been unchanged for 17 years.
“The Minister’s statements were clearly wrong and she should do the right thing and clarify her remarks to Albertans,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “Wildrose has always stood for clean air and protecting the environment, but we believe we should be achieving these outcomes through fact-based policies, not ideology.”
The air-quality device the government used to base its analysis off of monitored particulate quantity, not composition or source of fine particulate matter, and was located in a river valley next to a busy road and gravel lot. Wildrose Shadow Environment Minister Todd Loewen said the NDP government should not be basing its environmental policies off of the inaccurate data.
“Albertans were doubtful about the Minister’s claims that Red Deer had Canada’s dirtiest air, but now, following the release of this peer-reviewed report, we know the citizens were correct,” Loewen said. “The Minister should take back her statements unless she can provide additional evidence to support her claims.”