Canada needs a balanced conversation about the developing and exporting of our natural resources and the voice of the average Canadian is smothered by the noise of anti-development activists.
Canada is fast descending into a build-nothing paralysis despite the fact that the sale of our resources generates economic prosperity and new jobs. Project opponents are looking for long delays to kill projects – the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline, Alberta’s North-South Electrical line, Taseko’s Prosperity Mine and all of the major pipeline proposals are just a few examples of projects suffering long delays.
The Mackenzie Gas pipeline project was delayed so long, 40 years from the original proposal and a seven-year review on the latest version, that it is effectively dead. Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal went through much longer than necessary review hearings even though it is being reversed to its original direction.
Why do we allow ourselves to be distracted from what Canadians do best?
Environmental reviews are important; companies need to be held to the highest standards because that is what Canadians expect. But how long and how much money do we really need to spend? Canadians lose as a result of the drop in investment in our country – MGP was a CAD $16 billion project.
Our resource economy generates quality, good-paying jobs and revenues for governments that pay for other needs such as education and health care. We cannot remain idle if we wish to maintain our standard of living. The average engineer in Alberta earns over CAD $80,000 in Alberta.
The voice of the average Canadian is smothered by the noise of anti-development activists who oppose any project despite any balance of environmental or economic merits. The loudest voices are too often the special interest groups with no stake in the development at hand, drowning out those who have the greatest at stake.
There is a better way — a coalition supporting a positive conversation and practical solutions to the development and export of Canada’s natural resources. We are looking to build an alliance that grows a real conversation about energy and natural resources between Canadians, producers and all levels of government.
We must create a deeper understanding on the function of natural resource development in the Canadian economy. We all know that this is a fundamental portion of our economy but why do we allow ourselves to be distracted from what Canadians do best?
Canadians and our leaders can talk about being an energy superpower but until Canada has more than one customer, this remains but a long-term dream. We need to grow our access to other markets.
Canada lacks infrastructure, and not just pipelines, but roads, rails and port facilities. Until we catch up on some of these basic needs, we restrict ourselves from taking advantage of our natural opportunities. Canada can be a natural resources superpower but only if we get out of our own way. Long reviews and delays to projects only serve to hand our competitive advantage to our competitors. For instance, Australia is lapping Canada in construction of LNG export terminals and the United States is looking to beat us into the Asian marketplace as well. The time is now for Canada to move forward.