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Canada torn between economy, climate in deciding oil project

Eco warrior turned Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, picked by Justin Trudeau five months ago to guide Canada’s climate policy, will soon face his first major test in deciding on a new offshore oil project.

Norwegian firm Equinor is seeking to develop oil discoveries in the Flemish Pass Basin, some 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of St. Johns, Newfoundland.

Its proposed Bay du Nord project promises to create thousands of jobs and generate Can$3.5 billion (US$2.8 billion) in royalties for the Atlantic island province, rescuing its floundering economy.

But exploiting an estimated 300 million barrels of oil over 30 years would set back efforts to curb climate change.

Oil market turmoil caused by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions against the Russian energy sector could further complicate matters.

Guilbeault, a longtime activist who scaled Toronto’s CN Tower in 2001 to draw attention to climate change, is to announce a…

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