The Canadian Energy Strategy marks the first time all of Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders collectively recognized the energy sector as the “primary driver of Canada’s economy” and the global opportunity presented by the responsible development of our country’s abundant energy resources, including oil and natural gas resources.
And the importance of this strategic milestone cannot be overstated. It means all premiers across our regionally and politically diverse country agree: Canada can and should help meet increasing global energy demand through the environmentally responsible development and transport of our natural resources to markets at home and abroad.
This collaborative effort is unmatched by any other country that has national and sub-national governments. It is an example of Canada’s global leadership in producing energy while addressing climate change and greenhouse gas emissions through technological innovation, energy conservation and efficiency across the economy.
Our country will be better off as a result.
The Canadian Energy Strategy does not replace the crucial responsibility of the National Energy Board nor the good work that has been done to date and is being done right now, including measures to improve marine tanker and rail safety, steps to further improve environmental performance, and regulatory reform at the federal and provincial levels. The strategy offers a way to integrate that work and chart a more aligned, coherent path forward as Canada continues to be a global supplier of energy.
As the energy strategy points out, Canada has abundant stores of energy resources and is one of the world’s top five energy producers.
We have the third largest crude oil reserves in the world and are the fifth largest oil producer. Our natural gas makes Canada the world’s fifth largest producer. We rank third in hydro-electricity generation, we’re the second largest uranium producer and we rank seventh in wind-power generating capacity. Few countries have such an abundance of natural resource wealth.
Constitutionally, natural resources in Canada belong to the provinces. But as the collaborative approach emphasized in the Canadian Energy Strategy shows, regionalism need not stand in the way of developing and transporting these resources to markets at home and abroad. Collaborative implementation of this strategy is in the national interest and will help grow our collective prosperity long into the future.
The Canadian Energy Strategy correctly recognizes improved market access and market diversification as one of the main pillars of our country’s economic success. It supports efforts to open new markets – domestically and internationally – and strengthen relationships with existing customers.
Market diversification and infrastructure, such as pipelines and transmission lines, are key success deliverables that apply to both hydrocarbons and renewable energy sources.
A strong oil and natural gas sector benefits governments as well as the broader Canadian economy. It is an essential element supporting the high quality of life Canadians enjoy.
Take Quebec and Atlantic Canada as examples.
About 400,000 barrels of oil are refined in Quebec every day. Yet refineries in Quebec and Atlantic Canada currently import nearly 80 per cent of their crude oil from foreign countries such as Algeria, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Connecting central and eastern Canadian refineries and, ultimately, eastern ports to supplies of western Canadian oil translates into an opportunity to grow both the Quebec and Canadian economy.
Already, about 200 Quebec companies directly supply the oil industry with goods and services. New and existing developments are forecast to contribute $67 billion to Quebec’s gross domestic product over the next 25 years and nearly $38 billion of employee compensation, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute. Tax receipts are forecast to total nearly $21 billion – $840 million a year – over the same period.
Across Canada, the oil and natural gas sector invested an estimated $73 billion in capital projects in 2014. As well, the industry contributes, on average, $18 billion in royalty payments, land payments and income taxes per year.
These contributions by our sector, combined with contributions from other energy resources, such as hydro in Quebec, are why our premiers say in the Canadian Energy Strategy: “The development of Canada’s energy resources forms a vital part of the economy, generating significant jobs and income that benefit the lives of Canadians.”
So let’s build on the entire energy sector’s success and help ensure, in the words of the Canadian Energy Strategy, that Canada “is a global leader in providing a secure, sustainable and reliable supply of energy that is delivered with a high standard of environmental and social responsibility, consistent with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contributes to continued economic growth and prosperity for all Canadians.”
It’s a collective vision we should all support.