No reason to apologize

At its core, Canada is an export nation. And our largest export is oil and gas. As Canadians, we’re lucky to have the third largest oil reserves in the world — 97 per cent of them located in the oilsands in Northern Alberta. We’ve gained the skills to exploit these reserves in an environmentally-friendly manner and to export them primarily via pipelines using innovative technology and tough environmental regulation.

At its core, Canada is an export nation. And our largest export is oil and gas.

As Canadians, we’re lucky to have the third largest oil reserves in the world — 97 per cent of them located in the oilsands in Northern Alberta.

We’ve gained the skills to exploit these reserves in an environmentally-friendly manner and to export them primarily via pipelines using innovative technology and tough environmental regulation.

During the next 25 years, the oilsands are expected to contribute over $2.1 trillion to the Canadian economy — about $84 billion a year. That’s money that goes to all parts of Canada and creates jobs and industry.

Over that same period, the oilsands are expected to contribute about $311 billion in federal taxes to help pay for Canada’s health, education and social programs.

And new oilsands investments are predicted to grow Canada’s oil sands-related jobs from 75,000 in 2010 to 905,000 in 2035 — creating 126,000 jobs in provinces other than Alberta.

The energy sector remains the largest employer of aboriginal people in the country, and in 2010 purchased about $1.3 billion in goods and services from aboriginal-owned businesses.

So why, given the enormous importance of this industry, does the energy sector need to apologize or suggest it can do better?

Sure it can do better — it is still in the early stages of developing this resource, but it must stop apologizing.

Canada has some of the toughest environmental and human rights laws and regulations on the books. Oilsands greenhouse gas emissions account for one-600th of the world’s carbon emissions and, through the ingenuity of Canadians, those emissions have been declining. Since 1990, carbon emissions intensity from the oilsands has been reduced by 26 per cent.

Canada is developing world-leading carbon capture and storage projects. In fact, a Calgary-based company is amongst the finalists in the Virgin Earth Challenge for carbon negative technology — further reinforcing our technical expertise and commitment to the environment.

Alberta’s oilsands and Canada’s extensive pipeline network are highly regulated and closely monitored.

New proposed pipelines like Northern Gateway will be among the most advanced, safest pipelines in the world, and will include sophisticated computerized monitoring systems, aerial patrols, routine inspections and detailed education outreach to local landowners and communities.

Unfortunately many Canadians simply don’t understand how important the oilsands — and the pipeline networks that transport this oil — are to the future strength of the nation.

A recent study by the University of Calgary on energy literacy demonstrates how much work needs to be done to educate Canadians on energy issues.

As the University of Calgary’s Jean-Sebastien Rioux notes, “Canada is in danger of having a general population that is divorced from the process of wealth creation via the responsible development of our plentiful natural resources — both renewable and non-renewable — which account directly for over 15 per cent of our gross domestic product, and about 20 per cent if we include the indirect contribution to our GDP through the purchase of goods and services such as construction, machinery, professional services and transportation.”

We need to vastly improve energy literacy in this country so that we can have intelligent debates about energy policy.

We must begin to realize the importance of diversifying our energy market beyond the United States. Canada loses $50 million a day or $17 billion a year because our only customer, the United States, demands a discount on the international market price.

If Canadian oil could reach tidewater via pipelines, like Northern Gateway, to the West Coast, we could eliminate this discount, meaning more money in provincial and federal coffers — and more jobs across the country.

Similarly moving product east via TransCanada’s converted gas pipeline to Quebec and New Brunswick provide opportunities to get to tidewater.

The risks of building and operating pipelines are manageable; it can be done in a safe and environmentally-sound manner.

The real risk is a public that’s been and continues to be misinformed on energy matters.

The focus must now be on better educating Canadians on our natural resource and energy abundance — and on the transportation networks that get these resources to market.

No less than the future prosperity of this country depends on it.

Bruce Graham is president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development. This column is provided by Troy Media (www.troymedia.com).

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo).
A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Friday, June 18, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m.… Continue reading

(Black Press file photo).
AstraZeneca second dose ‘good choice’ despite federal guidance: B.C.’s top doctor

THE CANADIAN PRESS VICTORIA — British Columbia’s top doctor says there is… Continue reading

A person walks past a colourful wall while wearing a protective mask in the warm weather during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
A look at COVID-19 reopening plans across the country

As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and case numbers drop across the country,… Continue reading

Ubuntu – Mobilizing Central Alberta co-founder Dieulita Datus (front left) received a Multiculturalism, Indigenous and Inclusion Grant for the organization from the Government of Alberta. (Photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta organization promoting diversity, inclusion receives $6,000 grant from Alberta gov’t

Ubuntu was given the funds to further its work into equality and equity for all

A supporter of presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi holds a sign during a rally in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Iran's clerical vetting committee has allowed just seven candidates for the Friday, June 18, ballot, nixing prominent reformists and key allies of President Hassan Rouhani. The presumed front-runner has become Ebrahim Raisi, the country's hard-line judiciary chief who is closely aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iran votes in presidential poll tipped in hard-liner’s favor

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranians voted Friday in a presidential… Continue reading

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto, left, and President Seiko Hashimoto attend the news conference after receiving a report from a group of infectious disease experts on Friday, June 18, 2021, in Tokyo. The experts including Shigeru Omi, head of a government coronavirus advisory panel, issued a report listing the risks of allowing the spectators and the measurements to prevent the event from triggering a coronavirus spread. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Pool Photo via AP)
Top medical adviser says ‘no fans’ safest for Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — The safest way to hold the Tokyo Olympics is… Continue reading

FILE - In this June 12, 2021, file photo, Rajkumar Haryani, 38, who painted his body to create awareness about vaccination against the coronavirus poses for photographs after getting a dose of Covishield vaccine in Ahmedabad, India. Starting June 21, 2021, every Indian adult can get a COVID-19 vaccine dose for free that was purchased by the federal government. The policy reversal announced last week ends a complex system of buying vaccines that worsened inequities in accessing vaccines. India is a key global supplier of vaccines and its missteps have left millions of people waiting unprotected. The policy change is likely to address inequality but questions remain and shortages will continue. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)
How India is changing vaccine plan amid shortages

NEW DELHI (AP) — Starting Monday, every adult in India will be… Continue reading

Chief of Defence staff General Jonathan Vance speaks during a news conference to , in Ottawa Tuesday August 30, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces says it is making progress in the fight against sexual misconduct in the ranks, but much more work needs to be done. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Freeze promotions until military commanders are screened for misconduct: Committee

OTTAWA — A parliamentary committee has called for a freeze on all… Continue reading

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Hussen says he is looking to municipalities to reshape local rules to more quickly build units through the government's national housing strategy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Cities should redo planning, permitting to align with housing strategy, minister says

OTTAWA — The federal minister in charge of affordable housing says he… Continue reading

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. On June 1, NACI had said AstraZeneca recipients "could" get Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna for their second shot if they wanted, but Thursday went further to say an mRNA vaccine was the "preferred" choice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

When Gwenny Farrell booked her second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

Brooklyn Nets' James Harden, right, is guarded by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, center, during the first half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Bucks bounce back to defeat Nets 104-89 and force Game 7

MILWAUKEE — Khris Middleton scored 38 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 30 and… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) brings the puck up the ice against the New York Islanders during the third period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinals, Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. Tampa Bay won 2-1.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Point scores again, Lightning beat Islanders 2-1 in Game 3

Lightning 2 Islanders 1 (Tampa Bay leads series 2-1) UNIONDALE, N.Y. —… Continue reading

Most Read