Thinking big - The Orca

Thinking big


CAPP’s Allie Blades and Jack Middleton: Canadians want a strong and responsible resource sector.

According to a poll from IPSOS, economic recovery tops Canadians’ list of concerns, ahead of healthcare even during the pandemic.

Yet opponents of our natural resource industry insist the only path forward is to shut down one of the country’s largest job creators and source of government revenues, the natural gas and oil sector.

We think this rhetoric is irresponsible – and simply doesn’t reflect the facts on the ground. As one of Canada’s most important industries, the natural resource sector is positioned to play a leading role in our economic recovery.

It might seem contrary to what organizations like and the newly rebranded MakeWay (formerly Tides Canada) have dedicated the last decade to telling you, but we don’t need to sacrifice the environment for jobs.

This sector is one of Canada’s largest employers and economic growth generators, and can drive a robust, sustainable economic recovery to the benefit of the entire country while continuing to drive down emissions. According to Statistics Canada, an investment in one oil and natural gas job supports six other jobs across our economy.

The sector is both the largest investor and the largest exporter in the country. In the first quarter of 2019, natural resource industries directly contributed $236 billion to GDP, representing 11.3 per cent of the Canadian economy.

According to one study, Canadian companies spend $3.4 billion a year on clean technology investments—and 44 per cent of that comes from the oil and natural gas industry, via like funding the Carbon X Prize and the creation of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA).

As our economy struggles and governments across the country run historic deficits, we need a path forward. The Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery recently released a new report that shows the resource economy is primed to add 2.6 million jobs to a green economic recovery.

But this won’t happen on its own. The report provides several wide-ranging recommendations on how government can encourage capital investment while creating a low-emissions future that doesn’t sacrifice jobs.

Key to those recommendations is that governments must act to restore global investment confidence in Canada. Yes, our country is currently building several major projects – but what comes next is challenged by uncertainty.

Curbing emissions at home is important, but access to global markets means Canadian resources can make an impact in places like China and India, where the majority of global emissions originate. Not only are major projects like LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink stimulating the B.C. economy, but when complete they will allow for the production of some of the world’s lowest-emissions LNG.

Replacing coal-fired power plants with Canadian LNG means reducing particulate matter and air pollutants. That means cleaner air, healthier people, and reliable energy to raise quality of life.

Furthermore, oil demand is projected to turn around in 2021, with Asia making up 77 per cent of demand growth through 2025. That demand is still going to be filled by other countries with higher emissions and lower standards. Canadians are making a significant impact on reducing global emissions by exporting our resources. This is a fact we should take more pride in.

There has been plenty of discussion on funding infrastructure and what should be prioritized by federal and provincial governments. As they calculate their budgets we hope for acknowledgement that from the Newfoundland offshore industry to B.C. export terminals, oil and natural gas plays a critical role in Canada’s economic recovery, and creating a green future globally.

Allie Blades is an Advisor for Citizen Engagement and Outreach in BC with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Jack Middleton is an Advisor for Citizen Engagement and Outreach in BC with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).