UK Prime Minister visits Ottawa as Canadian outrage grows against Tar Sands

Update: This was picked up by the Globe & Mail: See Keep Alberta oil off your hands, environmentalists warn British PM


Thursday 22nd September – For immediate release

British Prime Minister David Cameron will visit Ottawa this week to address a joint session of Canadian Parliament [1], just days before hundreds of protesters descend on the capital to oppose the tar sands. As one of Harper’s ‘ideological allies’, Cameron has repeatedly demonstrated his government’s willingness to undermine European Union climate policy on behalf of the Harper government and its friends in the Alberta tar sands.

On the occasion of Cameron’s state visit, the UK Tar Sands Network is demanding the British Government stop defending Canada’s criminal record on climate change. “The UK is one of the few countries trying to stop the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive from specifically listing tar sands as more carbon-intensive than other fuels. A raft of information uncovered by Friends of the Earth Europe [2] and others have shown this position is being influenced by obscene lobbying from the Alberta and federal governments,” says Gemma Long of the network.

Just this week, Canada put more pressure on the EU by threatening to challenge the Fuel Quality Directive at the WTO [3] if it includes a specific value for tar sands crude. This follows reports earlier this year that Canada had threatened to pull out of free trade negotiations with the EU altogether [4], for the same reason. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement that Canada and the EU are negotiating will contain investment protections designed to increase the role of British companies such as BP in tar sands extraction.

“All too recently we have seen the two governments using Canada-EU trade talks to discourage action on climate change, while prolonging investments in toxic fuels,” adds Long. “Now despite Britain having, on paper, a much better climate action program than Canada, we’re seeing this fall down before our eyes under a government keen to prioritise industry interest over climate policy.”

On September 26th 2011 Canadian citizens are planning a peaceful protest in Ottawa to say no to a toxic tar sands industry and defuse the largest carbon bomb in North America. [5]


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Notes to editors

[1] Cameron will meet privately with Prime Minister Stephen Harper before making a speech to the House of Commons. See

[2] Friends of the Earth Europe report available at

[3] Reports of Canada threatening to challenge Brussels at the WTO available at

[4] More information about Canada’s threats to scrap CETA available at

[5] For more information on the tar sands protests in Ottawa, see

2 Responses to “UK Prime Minister visits Ottawa as Canadian outrage grows against Tar Sands”

  1. michael j paul-martin says:

    Prime Minister Harper’s having a good time,and why not; he’s now got a majority of the voters, and by scheduling the UK PM’s visit so that it happens just before the protesters arrive he is further showing off his political muscle, and arrogance. More so, all he has to do is finish his term, retire, and take advantage of his many political connections to live a life of leisure. And to think we had a real chance to oust him a year or so ago (he managed to trick the Governor General at the time). I hope the protest folk will completely demolish his plans somehow — and help the climate issue at the same time.

  2. Jenna says:

    If David Cameron does not speak up and against Tar Sands HE DOES NOT REPRESENT ME.

    i will be writing the appropriate letters and thanking those Canadians who are giving their time to challenge this.

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