‘I’ll have a broader perspective:’ Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps set to tour Alberta’s oil sands Friday


WATCH: While Victoria city council and the oil and gas industry have clashed in the past, both sides say Friday’s visit to Alberta’s oil sands will be different. April Lawrence reports.

Victoria city council was discussing carbon pricing and climate action Thursday morning, the day before Mayor Lisa Helps will fly to Calgary to tour the oil sands.

Whether or not my mind changes at least I’ll have a more informed point of view,” Helps said.

In February, after hearing about Victoria’s plan to launch a class action lawsuit against oil and gas companies, Calgary city councillors offered to tour mayor and council through an oil sands operation.

“Why should you come to Calgary? because your city is not immune to using this valuable resource,” said Calgary Coun. Ward Hamilton in a video posted to Twitter.

Lisa Helps was the only one that accepted.

“Even if I continue to have challenges and problems with the oil industry, with oil and gas extraction, I’ll have a broader perspective, I’ll have a deeper understanding, I’ll have met humans there that are doing that important work,” she said.

Helps will spend the day touring Cenovus Energy’s Foster Creek project with Calgary City Councillors and industry leaders.

“I think there’s a misconception that it’s an antiquated industry but the technology is fascinating and I hope to show that to Mayor Helps tomorrow and certainly that climate change matters to everyone here as well,” said Lynn Nellis, Chief Operating Officer of Canada Action.

While the tour may not change Helps’ mind about the need to phase out the fossil fuel industry, she says she’s going with an open mind, and a genuine desire to learn more about the industry.

Last week the proposed class action lawsuit against the oil and gas companies was officially dropped. Helps now believes there are better, more immediate, ways to fight climate change.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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