The Alberta oil sands are the fastest growing sector of the Canadian economy and a major generator of jobs in Western Canada. That, in turn, renders oil-sands development vital to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s western-based Conservative government. But the oil sands are also the largest single source of greenhouse gases in Canada.
The tension between those opposite sides of oil-sands development has created a major predicament for Harper: How to sustain oil-sands growth and, at the same time, meet the target he has set for himself of reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.
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