Greta Thunberg
© Global Look Press
A mural of controversial Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has been defaced in Edmonton, Alberta with the words: "Stop the lies! This is oil country!"

The original mural is a piece by local artist AJA Louden depicting the divisive young climate activist during her notorious "how dare you" speech delivered at the UN in September.

The large mural lasted only a few days before it was defaced by counter-protesters with a simple message for the plucky young Swedish saint of sustainability: "This is oil country."

"My father has worked in the oil industry. We don't need foreigners coming in and telling us how to run our business, support our families, put food on our tables..." the apparent vandal told a CBC journalist who happened to be on site at the time.

"It is absolutely intolerant of them [climate activists] to tell us how to change our lives and our people. She should go back to her country and try to make her country better," they added.

To add salt to the wound, a second man added a French slur to the mural later that same day.

Thunberg had only recently delivered speeches to Canadian crowds, telling them that "countries such as Canada and Sweden need to get down to zero emissions much faster so people in poorer countries can heighten their standard of living by building the infrastructure we have already built."

For their part, the artist behind the mural didn't seem to mind the vandalism, taking a more philosophical and insightful view of the whole incident, musing on the impermanence of art and perhaps life itself. "Nothing lasts forever - one of my favourite things about that wall is that anyone is allowed to express themselves there, so I'm not upset at all."

Many called for the Alberta police to arrest the man responsible for defacing the piece, who so brazenly showed his face on camera, while others lamented the whole episode as a sign of the times in Conservative 'Albertistan.'

Others questioned why there was a camera crew on hand to both film the incident and interview the vandal immediately after.

To put an end to the debate (about the mural at least) one Twitter user said the wall is a 'free for all' legal space for artists to use, so the original artist would had to have covered someone else's work and it was inevitable that someone else would 'deface' their mural.