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June 3 2019

Canadian Global Cities Council launches Canadians for Natural Resources campaign

Whether it is oil and gas, hydro, nuclear, wind, or solar, energy is a foundational piece of Canada’s economic fabric. Missing however is a full appreciation and understanding of the vital, and direct, relationship between Canadian energy and the well-being of households and communities, not only in Canada but around the world. From coast to coast, all forms of energy generate direct and indirect wealth for the country and are at the forefront of innovation that allows us to adopt as well as create new and increasingly efficient technologies. These technologies in turn, allow Canada to remain a leader in responsibly produced energy that is seeing an increase in demand worldwide.

That’s why, starting at the end of May and leading up to the federal election in the fall, the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC), a group consisting of chambers of commerce and boards of trade from eight of the largest urban centres across the country are working together to bring a pan-Canadian focus to Canada’s energy industry. The Canadians for Natural Resources campaign has one goal: to be a unifying voice in all regions of Canada, highlighting that we can be world leaders in both resource extraction and renewable energy.

This will not only help the Canadian economy grow, but also amplify the impact that responsibly-produced Canadian energy can have on reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally. We want Canadians to vote for Canada’s economy and will be advocating that all federal parties develop platforms and policies that focus on the importance of Canada’s energy resources at home and around the world.

Canada’s economic success is dependent on all sectors of the economy across all regions. The high quality of life Canadians enjoy is a direct result of this interdependence. Canada’s energy industry is one of the best examples of this, supporting over half a million jobs across the country while remaining a driver of the country’s economic prosperity. However, in many cases we have become our own worst enemy in speaking about the benefits that the energy industry currently brings to our economy and the potential it offers for a clean energy future around the world.

Whether it is advocating against policy that creates barriers to growth or seeking resolution to cross-provincial tensions delaying the construction of major energy projects, as Canadians we haven’t done a very good job speaking to one another about the vital relationship we have with energy. Our inability to have frank and direct kitchen table discussions about our energy future puts jobs and healthy communities from coast to coast at risk. The goal of our campaign is to change that. We are aiming to provide information to Canadians so that we can all have informed conversations about our energy industry as a whole.

Prices and demands for our energy products are rising and the lack of our resources reaching global market at world prices is an issue that is impacting all Canadians. The world demand for energy from all sources is expected to increase by 25 per cent by 2040. By the same time demand for oil and natural gas are expected to rise by 10 per cent and 43 per cent respectively. Emphasising the need for us to work together to ensure there is a Canada-wide push to ensure that all governments at all levels understand the importance of this industry, the gravity of the current situation, and the importance of this industry to all Canadians.

But this conversation with Canadians will go well beyond the importance of oil and gas. It will speak directly to how this country’s diverse energy mix and its technological and environmental prowess can be a global game changer.

Our country is quickly becoming a world leader in wind, solar, and hydro energy. Currently Canada has a diverse energy mix, hydropower leads the way for the electricity generation at 59.1 per cent with nuclear (15 per cent) and coal (nine per cent) following. Wind and solar generation have seen a spike in recent years as the leading sources for electricity generation from renewables. Production from renewable sources all together grew by 17 per cent across Canada between 2010 and 2016. The share and growth however, varies from province to province, with different resources available in different jurisdictions. While hydro plays a more prominent role in British Columbia and Quebec, growth in wind and solar energy has been more prominent in the Prairies and Ontario.

Harnessing the existing markets and the variance in inherent resource-based capacities across the country will allow Canada to maintain its role as a global leader in the emerging renewable energy sector. This diversity in natural resources among provinces strengthens Canada’s claim to be a global leader in all sources of renewable and traditional energy. It gives us a unique opportunity to look holistically at our entire energy sector and devote the country’s efforts to becoming a world leader in a diverse energy mix.

While this would clearly provide positive economic benefits, it also presents an opportunity to meaningfully reduce global emissions. Canada’s natural resources sector already holds itself to some of the highest standards in the world when it comes to environmental stewardship. This has resulted in continued reduction of emissions intensity as resources are extracted in Canada. By exporting Canadian technology and natural resources globally, we can offset higher emitting fuel sources such as coal and increase the impact we have on global GHG emissions.

With proper regulations and infrastructure and a united voice, Canada can lead the responsible development of energy to meet growing global demand, while continuing to develop and adopt new and innovative technologies to further reduce GHG emissions at home and abroad. Industry groups representing businesses operating in Canada’s natural resource sector have shared similar ideas and are unified in promoting our country’s economic prosperity.

This balance of getting world prices for our natural resources and a concrete path towards a lower carbon economy domestically is what we want Canadians from coast to coast to vote for when this campaign concludes.

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