OTTAWA – The Conservatives failed to show leadership and instead defended the status quo at an important meeting of Canada’s Energy Ministers, according to New Democrats.

“We need an energy strategy for the 21st century. Instead, the Conservatives are pushing a 20th century approach,” charged New Democrat Natural Resources Critic Romeo Saganash. “Emphasizing oil and gas expansion over a transition to cleaner technologies will hold Canada back and hurt both our environment and economy.”

For years, New Democrats have called for a pan-Canadian energy strategy to protect our environment and ensure Canadian companies and communities take advantage of future energy opportunities. Instead, the Conservatives have stuck to billion dollar subsidies for profitable oil and gas companies, while cutting back on investments in renewable alternatives.

New Democrats also warned that reducing environmental protections put our communities at risk.

“Proper environmental assessments and strong regulations are what protect our communities—they aren’t just ‘red tape’,” said Associate Natural Resources Critic Nathan Cullen. “The Conservatives have repeatedly slashed environmental protections to serve industry interests. Shilling for oil sands expansion and new pipeline construction is not an energy strategy and won’t wash with Canadians.”

New Democrats said they believe Canada needs an energy strategy that reflects the interests of all Canadians—not just those of the oil and gas industry. They’re calling for a strategy that puts the needs of Canadians first and helps move us to a sustainable, clean-energy future.