CALGARY — The head of Canada’s biggest energy industry group says a more balanced perspective appears to be taking shape around the oilsands, as environmentalists condemn the resource as a dirty source of crude.
“I think we’ve fundamentally said, ‘look we need to have a more balanced dialogue around energy.’ Energy security is important and environmental performance is certainly important. The economy is important,” David Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said.
“It feels to me that we’re headed in that direction.”
Canada’s energy industry has been trying to fend off attacks from environmental groups over the oilsands’ carbon emissions, water usage and effect on local wildlife.
Acknowledging it had been caught on the defensive earlier this year, CAPP undertook a campaign to reach out to Canadians, through online discussion boards and other means.
Most recently, CAPP joined the ubiquitous microblogging site Twitter.
Collyer said he is encouraged by the fact that Canadians seem to care about where their energy comes from and want to be part of the discussion.
A poll released by the Centre for Energy released Thursday suggests about 58 per cent of Canadians feel they can’t influence decisions around energy, but 92 per cent believe the sector is a key tenet of Canada’s economy.
“It shows that a lot of people do feel removed from energy policies, or at least the decision making,” said Steven Bright, a senior adviser for the centre.
“But at the same time it seems they’re keen to be involved in that dialogue, and that’s really one of the things we’re taking out of this.”
The Centre for Energy is a not-for-profit organization that distributes information about energy, including fossil fuels, nuclear and renewables.
The survey was done by Angus Reid Strategies and included 1,003 respondents surveyed from Sept. 9 to Sept. 10. It is considered reliable within 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.