Climate activist Greta Thunberg to took Twitter to lash out at recent comments from Alberta energy minister Sonya Savage in which she advocated for the pipeline construction to continue not despite the pandemic, but because of it.
"At least she’s being honest," Thunberg wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
Thunberg was referring to comments made by Savage during a podcast with the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drillers (CAODC) on May 20.
Savage said that now is the time to build pipelines as the current bans on public gathering will limit protests to 15 people or less.
"Now is a great time to be building a pipeline because you can't have protests of more than 15 people," she said.
Savage went on to say "As we go on and we get out of more immediate phases of COVID, people across Canada are not going to have tolerance and patience for protests that get in the way of people working."
"People need jobs and those types of ideological protests that get in the way are not going to be tolerated by ordinary Canadians."
Savage added that she was happy with the current progress on the Trans Mountain Pipeline—stretching from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, BC.
"Let’s get it built," she said.
In her tweet, Thunberg added, “Unfortunately this is how large parts of the world are run.”
The 17-year-old Thunberg travelled to Alberta last fall to hold a Friday’s For The Future rally for climate change at Edmonton’s legislature building. Over 4,000 people showed up to listen to the teen speak.
"This is not opinions or political views — this is the current best available science, and the politics that even recognize this are still nowhere in sight," Thunberg said.
"We teenagers are not scientists, nor are we politicians, but it seems many of us, apart from most others, understand the science because we have done our homework."
Savage has not yet commented on the Swedish teen’s tweet, but Jason Nixon the Government House Leader, defended his colleague at a press conference on Tuesday.
"Pipelines remain a priority of the people of Alberta and necessary for our prosperity and our future and we will continue as a government to do everything possible to get our product to market," Nixon said.
"Minister Savage was not saying that the Alberta Government in any way would prevent somebody from legally protesting. We believe in a democratic right to be able to express their views inside democracy," Nixon said.
The current coronavirus restrictions in Alberta allow a maximum of 50 people at public outdoor gatherings.
There have not been many anti-pipeline protests during the pandemic, though punishments for unlawful protests were recently increased by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney after recent rail blockades by Wet’suwet’en Nation members.
The province has also implemented a $30 million "energy war room" in order to fight misinformation circulating about the oil industry.