Victoria mayor Lisa Helps is heading to Alberta for an oil sands tour. (File Photo)

Victoria mayor preparing to tour Alberta oil sands

Lisa Helps heads to Alberta after an invitation came from Calgary councillor Ward Sutherland

Victoria mayor Lisa Helps is going to pay Alberta’s oil sands a visit this spring.

The mayor decided she would tour a steam-assisted gravity drainage oil sands project near Fort McMurray after an invitation came from Calgary councillor Ward Sutherland via Twitter.

“@cityofvictoria, I have a challenge for you. I’m inviting you to come down to #yyc to learn about #ab ethical oil & gas industry and our environmental initiatives,” he tweeted.

RELATED: City of Victoria endorses potential class action lawsuit against fossil fuel grants

Helps said the invitation was a great initiative for “city to city diplomacy.”

“It’s an opportunity to learn more and have a broader perspective,” Helps said. “I’m hoping to learn more about the industry.”

In January, Victoria city council voted to endorse a class action lawsuit against the fossil fuel industry that would seek to “recover costs arising from climate change and major fossil fuels corporations.”

The vote supported bringing the idea of a lawsuit to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) meeting this fall.

Helps said she doesn’t expect the Alberta tour to change her perspective on the industry.

“Everything I know about climate change says that we need to keep the oil in the ground and make transitions…” she said. “But I think it’s important, even when your mind doesn’t change, it’s important for me to understand all elements of the issue and hear all points of view.”

Helps said her Alberta trip will be paid for by the city of Calgary, and is scheduled for April.

RELATED: Alberta not pleased with Victoria’s proposed lawsuit against oil/gas

RELATED: City of Victoria drafts plan to fight climate change

With files from Nicole Crescenzi.

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