Ask any swim coach. The future champion is usually the one who was always the last out of the pool during training sessions and meets – the one who showed real commitment and genuine drive.
In global petroleum markets, there’s a pool of suppliers that includes Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iran. These are no paragons of virtue in the democracy and human rights departments.
In many of these jurisdictions, women are banned from driving cars or leaving their homes unaccompanied by a male, while in other supplier countries collective bargaining rights and environmental, health and safety regulations are virtually non-existent.
A little further down the list of suppliers in the global pool is Venezuela, where the failed state’s president brutally smashes his political opposition through violence, trumped-up prosecutions for treason and a unilateral constitutional overhaul.
Canada is in the top global supplier pool too. But unlike the others, we’re also the top-ranked country for freedom, democracy, equality, social progress, freedom of belief, freedom of the Internet, freedom of the press, best places to live, human development, equality, best places to raise a family, transparency and environmental performance.
And yet we’re the only supplier country where energy exports have effectively been blocked by sophisticated groups that have spent several years and millions of U.S. foundation dollars to build a coordinated U.S.-Canada activist campaign that brands our sector as environmentally destructive.
We know organizations like Pembina Institute, Greenpeace and ForestEthics have been involved in such a coordinated campaign, and it’s clear similar activities continue – either by these same groups or by their allies.
If Canada is prevented from supplying oil to the world, then other countries – often far less focused on human rights and the environment – will be happy to take our place.
All Canadians win when our energy sector is strong. Between 2007 and 2015 Albertans paid $221.4 billion more in federal taxes than they received in transfers and federal programs.
The best projections suggest the world will continue to use fossil fuels for generations. If in a hundred years the world reduces its oil and gas consumption, then we should plan on being the last one out of the pool.
As Canadians, our social programs and our employment derive largely from our own industry. It’s a made-in-Canada opportunity to maintain the best possible level of social security and quality of life for all Canadians.
We should compete globally and we should be the last one out of the pool.
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.