Canadians need a constructive dialogue about the oil sands and broader energy matters based on the facts - jobs, economic benefits, environmental performance and energy security and reliability - rather than ill-informed opinions and inflammatory rhetoric from protest-anthem rock stars, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said today.
"Neil Young's statements this week clearly demonstrate his lack of understanding of the oil sands and the realities of North America's energy mix, and fail to acknowledge the many significant successes - First Nations' jobs, contracts, cultural programs, infrastructure, and deep and enduring relationships - that have been achieved in the oil sands," said CAPP president Dave Collyer.
In 2012, aboriginal companies in the oil sands region earned more than $1.8 billion from work under contracts with oil sands companies. Over the past 14 years, aboriginal companies in the region have earned more than $8 billion in revenue. In 2011 and 2012 alone, oil sands companies contributed more than $20 million to aboriginal communities in the Wood Buffalo and Lac La Biche regions for school and youth programs, celebrations, cultural events, literacy, community projects and other initiatives. These are very significant benefits to First Nations in a region with few other options for economic development.
From coast to coast, the majority of Canadians support the continued responsible development of the oil sands, according to public opinion polls conducted by independent third parties for CAPP. That's in part because this important resource is developed with respect for aboriginal peoples and stakeholders who live and work nearby, with jobs and economic benefits across Canada, and with a strong, continuous focus on reducing environmental impacts.
"Fostering conflict and divisiveness through off-oil rhetoric and ignoring the many examples of mutual benefits and shared value does not contribute to long-term solutions for Canadians, nor provide much-needed solutions for First Nations communities," Collyer said.
"We would be pleased to sit down with Mr. Young and Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation chief Allan Adam and have a full discussion about the oil sands and energy use. There is a better path forward."
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. CAPP's member companies produce about 90 per cent of Canada's natural gas and crude oil. CAPP's associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream crude oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP's members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues of about $100 billion a year. CAPP's mission is to enhance the economic sustainability of the Canadian upstream petroleum industry in a safe and environmentally and socially responsible manner, through constructive engagement and communication with governments, the public and stakeholders in the communities in which we operate.