I’ve been saying for several years that we – all Canadians – should become more engaged in the discussion of natural resources and with what benefits we derive from their stewardship.
Even more important, as a non-energy professional living in Calgary, I’ve explained how incredibly proud I’ve become after I committed to getting to know the sector a lot better. Natural resources is a great story. All of us should be telling it.
So when I recently got the call from Ottawa to recount the story to an all-party committee of Parliament that was studying clean technology in our resource sector, I didn’t hesitate for a second. Here’s what I said to members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources this past March in our nation’s capital.
First, I tried to place the issue of clean technology into global context. When you see the big picture, you quickly spot the opportunities for this country.
After all, global oil and natural gas demand is growing, as is demand for energy from all sources. In fact, the IEA has said oil demand is forecast to reach 100 million barrels per day by 2020.
Now consider this: today, 85 per cent of world energy is fossil fuel. In 2040, three-quarters of world energy is forecast to be fossil fuel.
Why does it matter? I explained to the committee that it shows fossil fuel energy isn’t going away any time soon and Canada is a global leader in the responsible production of natural resources.
Further, over the last decade, oil and gas has often been Canada’s largest export. And oil and gas exploration and production have the highest “value added” to the economy in GDP – not to mention above-average incomes.
I explained to the parliamentarians that there’s a lot more to add to this powerful list of key resource-related attributes. For example:
- According to the McDonald-Laurier Institute, 61 per cent of all business investment and 58 per cent of all merchandise exports and nearly half of all Canadian manufacturing is connected to our resources.
- More than two million Canadians work in our resource industries.
- More than 3,400 companies supply the oilsands outside of Alberta in the last two years.
- Oilsands are expected to generate $1 trillion in royalties and taxes over the next 25 years.
- More than 300 indigenous-owned companies in Alberta are active in the oilsands with more than $10 billion in business over the last 15 years.
Incredible? It certainly was to me. I’m also fiercely proud that Canada – among top reserve countries – is ranked at the top for freedom, democracy, equality, social progress, top places to live, human development, best places to raise a family, transparency and environmental performance.
When you look at the big picture, it’s easy to see, the world needs more Canadian energy. We all have skin in the game and we all need to get involved.
Cody Battershill is a Calgary Realtor and founder/spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer organization that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.