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Three Steps for Alberta’s Energy Industry


Colin Craig

The rest of the world is laughing at us. They must be.

No rational person or country would look at Canada, observe how we’re constantly obstructing our own energy industry – while importing oil and gas from foreign countries – and conclude, “that makes sense.”

Taxpayers across Alberta – and Canada for that matter – should be very angry about what’s going on. Simply put, the billions of dollars our governments are missing out on in terms of resource royalties and tax dollars means there are fewer dollars available for health care, education, roadwork and other services.

Further, when governments miss out on those revenues, it also means they’re more likely to raise taxes.

None of this is new. It’s been rehashed time and time again. So what can be done?

Here are three thoughts:

First, some in industry need to stop cowering in the corner and start holding their heads up high. Canada has some of the most rigorous environmental policies in the world. As long as consumers across the globe are still buying oil and gas products, all Canadians should want our industry to be able to provide those resources.

This will require some in industry to stop enabling politicians and their detrimental policies. Industry leaders need to stop standing on stage with politicians when they announce carbon taxes and other negative policies. And for goodness sake, some industry players need to stop cosying up to organizations whose main goal is to shut down Alberta’s energy industry.

Second, our energy industry’s opponents have had about a decade’s head start in attacking our province’s industry and resources – there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Environmental radicals may be well funded by some deep pockets in the United States, but their resources are a far cry from what Canada’s $120-billion energy industry has access to.

Industry needs to understand that if they’re going to start getting projects approved and product to market, they need to start shifting public opinion. This will require telling our energy industry’s great story beyond Alberta. Canadians from coast to coast need to understand the full extent of the lunacy that’s going on right now. If that happens, politicians will follow the shift in sentiment and start approving more projects – raising more in tax revenues at the same time.

Part of this process will involve creating more graphics to spread on social media, more town hall meetings, more short video clips, more advertisements, and the like. If industry players don’t want to create their own resources and engage in these activities, they should fund groups like Canada Action and others who are trying to get the message out right now.

Thirdly, and this is where all readers come in: supporters who are sympathetic to this message need to do their part to help spread the word across Canada. For decades now, Canadians from across the country have moved to Alberta – and most of those people are on social media. Combined, they must have millions of contacts in other provinces.

Industry needs to start mobilizing their employees, suppliers and the general public to help in this battle. All of Canada has benefited from our energy industry – that should become crystal clear to all.

Again, if we can reinvigorate our energy industry, we can ease some of the financial challenges governments are facing – and avoid a tax hike or two. Who knows, maybe we can even get the rest of the world to stop laughing at us?

Colin Craig is the Alberta director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.