The village of Whistler, B.C. is seen as the sun sets on the snow capped mountains Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

CIBC shrinks event after Whistler mayor irks oil producers

After Whistler sent a letter to a Calgary-based oilsands giant, several energy firms said they would back out of the CIBC event.

The ski resort town of Whistler, B.C., is learning that getting involved in the fight between environmentalists and oil companies can result in negative consequences.

Part of CIBC’s annual investment conference to be held in the community next month has been scrapped after the town council took part in a letter-writing campaign demanding oil companies compensate it for its costs related to climate change.

After Whistler sent a letter to Calgary-based oilsands giant Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., several energy firms reportedly said they would back out of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce event.

CIBC has since decided to cancel the oil and gas part of its conference, although it says the rest will continue. According to an online agenda for the 2018 CIBC event, 43 of the 114 companies scheduled to present were either oil and gas producers or provide oilfield services.

In a statement, Roman Dubczak, CIBC managing director and head of global investment banking, says the Canadian energy industry is “a global leader of responsible energy development,” adding the bank is committed to its energy clients.

Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton issued a video apology late last week in which he says the town joined the letter-writing campaign with 15 other municipalities led by an environmental group to draw attention to the urgent issue of climate change.

“Our aim was never to make anyone feel unwelcome in Whistler,” he said. “I sincerely regret that anyone felt unwelcome here.”

He adds many people have pointed out that Whistler itself is a consumer of fossil fuels and says the town will do what it can to improve its own local climate change impact.

Read more: Natural Resources committee meets to talk about pipeline decision

Read more: B.C. halts northeast fracking operations while it investigates earthquakes

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