Canadian Energy Opportunity at Risk

By: Cody Battershill

Article originally featured in CAODC's Spring 2015 edition of their magazine, The Hitch. 

Your job is important to you and even more critical to your future plans. Things like going on vacation, buying a new car, starting a family and even owning a home are all contingent on our jobs. 

As much as you might value your job, there is an entire industry with people employed with the explicit goal of taking your job away. Lobby groups whose entire purpose, entire business model, is to get you fired. They work full time with big budgets to ensure that you don't drill another well; that you, don't dig in the Oilsands, and that you don't get the opportunity to work hard for a good wage in Canada's oil and gas sector. 

One Oilsands company that recently delayed a project saw a paid employee of one of these lobby groups cheering and celebrating that 70 Canadians had lost their jobs. "POW", "BAM" and other celebratory remarks were among his cheers of joy. This individual works full time to create fear and misinformation about our resources. It's his job to block pipeline development and then cheer when jobs are lost. His job description: To get you fired. Getting a project like Keystone XL stopped could land this guy a hefty Christmas bonus. 

If you listened to these people, you would think Canada was the only oil-producing country on earth and if we simply shut down, that the world wouldn't need oil anymore. In truth, Canada produces less than 4 per cent of the world's oil, but receives nearly 100 per cent of the anti-oil protesting and lobbying by some of these groups. 

The world's demand for oil is currently forecasted to grow from about 92 million barrels a day, to somewhere between 105 and 117 millions barrels over the next 25 years. Overall natural gas demand is forecasted to have similar growth trajectory as hundreds of millions of people all over the world discover the convenience of electricity. They are demanding access to modern services like clean water, education, health care and an abundance of food - all services that require vast amount of energy and natural resources. 

The organized effort to shut down our resource opportunity is well established, well-funded, very sophisticated and highly coordinated. Teams of spin doctors, lawyers, graphic designers, website builders and protest sign makers are all getting paid to shut us down. They are doing whatever they can to make sure that we aren't having informed conversations about the global context of natural resources and Canada's record as a responsible producer of energy. 

Despite more than 60 years of energy development in Canada and a world leading regulatory system, we cannot take new infrastructure for granted. Even our largest trading partner and closest ally - the United States - has shunned Keystone XL in the face of coordinated protests & well planned advertising by opponents. These protests are based on a lie and in the absence of Canadian oil, that demand is filled by oil from countries with weaker environmental and human rights records. 

When Americans aren't consuming Canadian oil, they are consuming oil from countries that include Saudi Arabia Nigeria and Venezuela. 

If you were an American concerned with environmental protection and human rights, would you rather buy your oil from Canada, or from the list above? 

There are millions of kilometres of pipelines all over the world and new Canadian pipelines are among the most strictly reviewed, studied and maintained. Despite having the highest standards on the planet, there are some who are working to ensure that no Canadian pipeline is ever built, converted or even expanded. Their short term goal is to slow the growth of our oil and gas production, and in the medium and long term, shut it down. 

The problem with their attack on Canadian oil and natural gas workers is that they overlooked the possibility that those workers themselves might fight back. 

They overlooked the possibility that you and people like you would get involved. 

We need to do more to share the facts. We all need to take some ownership over our industry and contribute five minutes a few times a week online, and offline. 

By 2025, the Oilsands could contribute as much as $61 billion to government revenues in Canada. That's how we pay for roads, schools, hospitals, emergency responders and health care professionals. We have a high quality of life, paid for in large part from our country's abundant natural resource wealth. 

Every company, every individual and every association needs to share the responsibility for telling the local and national story. Everyone needs to meet and exceed regulatory requirements, provide safe and environmentally balance resource production and communicate the benefits for Canadian prosperity and opportunity through what we do, day in and day out. 

Join and stand up and speak out.
Twitter: @OilsandsAction | @CanadaAction
Instagram: @CanadaAction


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