Leaving Canada's oil in the ground doesn't only hurt the economy — it hurts the environment, too
By Colin Craig, Financial Post, September 24, 2019
“My dad volunteers at the food bank in town. And food bank usage had gone to all-time highs in 2014 and 2015 and then fluctuated somewhat and then just continued to climb. He would never give me any names, but he said, ‘Tim, there’s people coming through the food bank now that you know.’ ”
Tim Cameron, a project manager from Drayton Valley, Alta., shared that sad anecdote with SecondStreet.org recently when we spoke with him about how the oil and gas industry slowdown is affecting his community.
He described the town as being a bit like the TV show “The Walking Dead.” Many residents are unemployed and struggling to get by — even those who are highly skilled workers.
As our federal election gets underway, energy issues will no doubt be part of the discussion. Canadians may want to reflect on two facts concerning Canada’s oil and gas industry and how families like the one in Tim’s story are affected.
On BP’s website (formerly British Petroleum) you’ll find a graph that shows six different forecasts for global oil demand up to the year 2040. Of the six forecasts, only one suggests oil demand will drop before then.
One forecast put forward by the International Energy Agency (based in France) noted something interesting: electric cars may lead to a slowdown in gasoline use but petrochemicals and jet fuel will still drive overall demand higher. (Petrochemicals are derived from oil and are used to make cellphone parts, bicycle tires, running shoes and many other household and industrial products.)
Thus, the question facing our nation is: should Canada provide the world with the oil it wants to purchase or should we let some other country enjoy the significant economic benefits from that opportunity?
As things stand right now, decisions by the current federal government have led industry representatives to believe it is “highly unlikely” that investors will want to build new pipelines in Canada — infrastructure that is desperately needed to export our oil.
The second point to consider in this discussion is of course the environment.
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