The Canadian federal government put out two significant statements early this month that thrust its Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault into the spotlight.

First, the government said Equinor’s controversial Bay du Nord project offshore Newfoundland & Labrador could proceed, after an environmental review process that lasted over four years.

That same day, as if to try to head off the inevitable backlash from environmental groups, it announced plans “to develop guidance that will require proponents of new oil and gas production projects subject to a federal impact assessment to demonstrate that they will have ‘best-in-class' low-emissions performance”.