It’s no surprise that a majority of Canadians, according to three recent polls, want our resilient natural resource industry to play a role in any post-COVID economic recovery.
The fact is natural resources are fundamental to Canada’s prosperity, support more than 1.8 million Canadians and account for roughly a fifth of our national economy. So it’s no wonder Canadians want this key wealth-generating, job-creating sector to participate fully in our economic future.
Let’s be frank. Canada is still coping with affects of COVID-19 as both public and private sectors grapple over next steps. Many Canadians are uncertain about what an economic recovery will look like in future.
One area where there appears to be some certainty is the broad public recognition that any future economic recovery ought to include natural resource sectors such as oil and gas, forestry, mining and agriculture. Without the participation of the environmentally responsible natural resource sector, the majority of Canadians polled seem to believe Canada would suffer.
Here are a few data points uncovered by the three Ipsos research projects.
A poll Ipsos conducted for the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) found a majority of Canadians agree with an inclusive approach to our nation’s economic recovery. In early September 2020, the MEI found that an overwhelming majority of Quebecers (71 per cent) would prefer to import their oil from Western Canada, as opposed to just eight percent who would prefer American oil and only six percent who would rather source oil from another country.
A second poll, conducted by Ipsos for the Business Council of Alberta, found 75 per cent of Canadians believe any economic recovery from COVID-19 should incorporate Canada’s natural resource industries while protecting the environment.
A few weeks later, a third Ipsos poll, this one for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, found 61 per cent of Canadians agree jobs in the domestic oil and natural gas industry are essential to Canada’s economy.
I don’t have to convince you that COVID-19 has caused an economic and human health meltdown internationally. You’re likely well aware of the crucial role natural resources-related employment plays for hundreds of thousands of workers.
If you accept those points, and you consider the polling that shows a majority of Canadians support an environmentally responsible natural resource sector, than it begs the question: What are we waiting for?
Canada is home to an incredible wealth of natural resources and the skills to manage them for future generations. Canadian companies are global leaders in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investor criteria. We spend more than any sector in Canada on clean tech, innovation and environmental protections.
Canadians agree. Let’s produce these valuable resources for a world that’s increasingly seeking responsibly managed resource products. It’s time to get on with it.
Cody Battershill is a Calgary realtor and founder / spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer-initiated group that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.