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Canada's Trudeau taps activist for climate chief

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet on Tuesday, naming long-time climate activist Steven Guilbeault as environment minister.

Trudeau, who won a third term last month, was forced to make changes after a cabinet minister quit and three others were defeated in recent elections.

"I think one of the things we saw very clearly in this election is that Canadians are expecting big things to be done by Parliament, and by this government, whether it is continuing to step up, more and faster in the fight against climate change, whether it is moving forward in more concrete and tangible ways, the path of reconciliation or whether it is to take a look at what it really means to build back better, and ensure as we grow our economy everyone gets included."

Canada’s La Presse newspaper once dubbed Guilbeault "the green Jesus of Montreal."

He worked for climate groups for decades, including Greenpeace and in 2001, he climbed the CN Tower in Toronto to protest Canada's environmental record.

Trudeau has promised to prioritize climate change.

His government has imposed a carbon tax and pledged net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

But green groups note that per capita greenhouse gas emissions remain among the highest in the world, in part due to the energy industry in western Canada.

Trudeau’s newest cabinet appointments have concerned the country’s oil patch, including tapping another green advocate, Jonathan Wilkinson, to head natural resources.

An oil and gas CEO who spoke to Reuters anonymously said the mood in the country’s biggest oil producing province, Alberta, is “not good.”

He added, "Liberals are looking for a way to shut us down.”

Canada is the world’s fourth largest oil producer.

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