Today's discussion:

Canada’s natural resources are a long-neglected ‘golden goose.’ It’s time to change that

At a time when policymakers are concerned with boosting economic growth and Canadian living standards, it stands to reason that one of the most impactful steps that they could take is unleashing the natural resource sector.

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The goal of Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016 was not to shift the thinking, both nationally and around the world, away from our abundant resources over to our resourcefulness. His intent was to shift the growing balance of power and influence that these resources had bestowed upon Western Canada – as had been trending in the decade before – putting both back into the hands of Central Canada. He could never condone such a power shift; subjugation of the West by restricting the development of its natural resources and harpooning their movement to domestic and international markets his solution.

If he was genuine in the statements he once made about transitioning Western Canadian energy workers over to high paying green technology jobs (which he quickly forgot the moment he was back on the plane to Ottawa), it would stand to reason that we might have seen some of those many billions he earmarked for battery plants being built in Alberta and Saskatchewan, instead all those economic eggs going into Ontario’s basket.

The legacy of the Trudeau Government in this, our lost decade, is one of national setback and complete failure. We’re going to need those natural resources, now more than ever to dig our way out of the hole they put in our Treasury. That will be left to some other government we install, hopefully sooner rather than later.

13th May 2024 at 8:53 am
Neil Beesley

Prairie paranoia!!! My late Aunt Margaret and Uncle Karl moved from London, Ontario to Halifax, Nova Scotia in their retirements to be closer to their only child, my Cousin: Margot and her family. Next Family Reunion, Aunt Margaret was back – full of pee and vinegar about the inequities of Central Canada’s freight rates on the Maritimes, until (in my teenage hubris) I reminded her that she was really from Central Canada as well, for virtually her entire life; she had no response. Canada’s far from being perfect, but it’s a damned sight better than most!!!

13th May 2024 at 10:39 am

“Prairie paranoia” – coming from someone who lives in the province having the distinction of holding the largest subnational debt load in the world. And it’s all yours, Neil.

Labels masking your denial cannot escape the reality of the destiny your province will soon have with the creditors. You may look to the rest of the country to bail you out, but don’t be surprised if you’re told there aren’t enough billions laying around to subsidize more battery plants to get you out of the jam you put yourselves in. Only then might you realize it’s time to get to work to pay your bills.

Digging up more nickel in Sudbury and valuable minerals elsewhere may be your salvation, if, like us, you don’t find your resource companies subjected to endless regulatory reviews, protests, blockades, and court challenges.

Your relatives deserved credit for seeing what you apparently could not grasp back then, or now. You need to get out more.

13th May 2024 at 12:16 pm
Neil Beesley

Actually, while I live in Ontario, I have worked in Alberta on various projects over the years, and have friends and family living there. Doesn’t make me an expert, but it doesn’t make me ignorant of things either. The Ontario provincial debt that you reference is currently being aggrandized by nominally fiscally conservative PC Premier Tubby of Ford – supposedly kissing cousins with Alberta UCP Premier Princess Loon, so stop pontificating already!!! All Canadian politicians, of whatever stripe, simply love to bribe us with our own money and leave the tab lying around for our kids and grandkids and their kids to pay off. Just because Alberta currently owns the piggybank doesn’t mean that it’s fundamentally any different!!!

13th May 2024 at 7:56 pm
richard webber

great article that unfortunately falls on deaf ears. The current liberal government has so far shown a total disregard to assisting resource development in Canada. They have instead tried and successfully thwarted all legitimate resource projects, by burdening them with endless environmental impact studies, consultations with impacted indigenous peoples, and layers upon layers of legal documents, treaty obligations and a host of other processes enough to hobble any attempt at putting a shovel in the ground. Until we have a change of government our resources will stay in the ground while countries around the world are begging us for help. You get the government you deserve.

13th May 2024 at 11:04 am
Kim Morton

Since Trudeau took power, there has been a distinct parallel between how Canada is being run and The Hunger Games.

13th May 2024 at 9:11 am
Neil Neesley

Outrageous hyperbole!!!

13th May 2024 at 10:27 am
Gord Edwards

In 2019 Andrew Scheer pitched a National Energy Corridor during the election campaign. I don’t recall the CPC pushing it too hard, perhaps due to fear of backlash in Quebec. And the media didn’t seem to take it very seriously.

Coverage of Brian Mulroney’s legacy following his death got me thinking about the need for vision in leadership. From the GST (credited with enabling Chretien to balance the budget), dragging Canada into free trade, unsuccessful attempts at constitutional reform, to fighting Acid Rain, Mulroney had a vision for the future. He and the PC Party did pay the price for pushing forward against resistance and the accepted narrative. I fear this is a lesson conservative politicians have learned too well.

The need for Canadian energy in Europe and Africa is clear. Establishing a national corridor wouldn’t be a short-term project, but we need to start thinking in generational timescales. Negotiating a corridor and addressing environmental impacts would require time and no doubt cost money, but not incredible amounts. Project risk largely eliminated this should aim to set the conditions for future private investment. It should also create a backbone for east-west electricity transmission within Canada. Perhaps a National Energy Corridor is an idea that’s time has come.

13th May 2024 at 11:30 am
Ray Howarth

It won’t work because the Quebecois don’t play the game fairly.

13th May 2024 at 11:36 am
Gord Edwards

As Wayne Gretzky apparently said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I’m sure Mulroney heard the same advice about Acid Rain or free trade.

13th May 2024 at 1:48 pm

And he was a major crook too .

13th May 2024 at 2:09 pm
Harry Boessenkool

This was an outstanding piece.

As a Christian, I believe that God created this world (and Universe) and all the resources that go with it.

To enable the world population we have today He built into the world all the resources. We did not put the oil, gas and minerals in the ground, we did not create the air and water. Those are all free. No wonder they are the resources that create wealth. All the houses we build, clothes we wear, car we drive have input labour inputs that have an economic cost. The underlying materials, from the list above are free.

The fact we still have starvation is a distribution issue and political regimes that are dysfunctional. But in the last 25 years great head way has been made.

With Canada having the world’s second largest land mass, and if I am not mistaken, the world’s largest store of fresh water, surely we have a responsibility to use our God given resources to make the world a better place to live.

To tell the German and others, to “pound salt” when they want and are willing to pay for Canadian resources we could have helped them. Even the argument that we could prevent coal generated electricity in China is a good one as the author of this piece so clearly stated.

I have a bit of problem with the words “climate change” because humans have zip control over the weather. If Global warming is a problem using Canadian resources is a better option than try get get Canada to reduce its emissions with 40 million people spread over 10 million square kilometres area.

13th May 2024 at 2:00 pm
Paul Attics

Weather is to climate as the whole ocean is to the waves currently washing ashore on your favorite beach.

Humanity as a whole certainly has the power, and responsibility, to mitigate the influence our 200+ years of carbon emissions have had on our finite biosphere.

If there was actually a God, or other all-powerful fanciful entity/entities that created, and still cared for, this world, she would be aghast at how we are recklessly consuming its finite resources and putting the global climate balance at grave risk.

13th May 2024 at 3:42 pm
Neil Beesley

Not since Dean Jonathan Swift published “A Modest Proposal For The Children Of Ireland” (advocating cannibalism as a solution to endemic poverty and overpopulation) have I seen such a one-sided and stilted argument, completely ignoring the obvious!!! Dean Swift was, of course, making a keen point by engaging in absurd satire, tongue firmly in cheek; just what Andrew Evans intends by ignoring the obvious is somewhat less clear!!!

Yes, exploiting Canada’s natural resources over the course of history has been extremely lucrative – it cannot be denied; but, at what cost??? Their continued, unfettered exploitation (Mr. Evans’ “Modest Proposal”) is entirely unsustainable, and would come at significant expense to the environment – both Canada’s and the World’s!!!

What good is a higher standard of living, when the World is on fire, and your land is a waste dump??? I fully realize that this is a very simplistic response to an equally simplistic proposition; now is the time for a more adult conversation about all aspects of the issue!!!

13th May 2024 at 9:22 am
Gord Edwards

There seems to be a common belief among environmental activists, frequently adopted by the media, that on the day Canada (hypothetically) achieves net zero a dome of clean air will emerge over the country. CO2 concentrations from coast to coast to coast will drop, weather will moderate, and utopia will be achieved. Sadly, global systems don’t work like that. Selling Canadian LNG and oil to countries such as India still primarily using coal is a better strategy. Global climate change is after not just a name – it is a global phenomenon.

I wonder where progressives believe the materials in their smart phones come from, as well as EVs, MRI machines, etc. A group of companies selling each other financial services doesn’t create an economy. Someone must ultimately make or obtain something of value.

I agree that an adult conversation on these issues is needed. But the environmental movement isn’t prepared to be part of that discussion.

13th May 2024 at 11:22 am

Suggest you get on an airplane and fly across the country then tell us how many waste dumps you see.

13th May 2024 at 9:38 am
Neil Beesley

No need, I can see the Tar Sands tailings ponds on virtually every image of that area taken from space!!!

Same goes for clear cut forestry areas!!! Ever look at an aerial image of the stark border line between Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Hispaniola???

13th May 2024 at 10:23 am
Neil Beesley

Should have known better than to try to discuss something serious in a Tory echo chamber; my bad!!! As PH only wants to use their initials, and not their actual name, I can only assume that it really stands for ‘pH’, as in “potential of hydrogen”, or ‘degree of acidity’!!!

A simple reading of Canadian history (assuming that those awful terms haven’t been banned already by Alberta Premier Princess Loon, through an Act of the provincial legislature) shows that in 1867, at the time of Confederation, the dominant “have” provinces were the three in Atlantic Canada. Times and fortunes changed dramatically over the next 157 years, with Westward expansion, and the economic centre-of-gravity shifted: first to Montréal with the development of the railways, then to Toronto with postwar immigration and the corporations abandoning Montréal in the face of separatism and two separation referenda. I rather suspect that the current centre-of-gravity is floating somewhere between the Lake-of-the-Woods and Winnipeg.

The single, greatest resource that no one has considered here is: water; to the best of my knowledge, no one has yet figured out a way for human bodies to survive by drinking fossil fuels!!! Alberta is largely dependent on glacial supplies of water; glaciers that are currently melting faster than Frosty The Snowman in a chinook, due to climate change and global warming. Just as US “boomtowns” such as Phoenix and Salt Lake City are living on extremely thin ice due to perilous water supplies, so too are Calgary and Edmonton and any number of other places. And, don’t kid yourselves: once the American West runs dry, the good old US of A is going to forget all about “sharing” and “playing nice” in the sandbox – and come looking for what they crave and will desperately need!!! Alberta’s and Saskatchewan’s Achilles heel is water, and good luck drinking the Tar Sands when that happens!!! It doesn’t take prescience or genius to read those cards – but I return to my original point about Canadian history and ever shifting fortunes. The old saw goes: “Be nice to the people you meet on the way up, because you will meet them again on the way down!!!”

Over and out!!!

14th May 2024 at 4:31 am

When I fly across the country and look down, I see thousands of pristine lakes and rivers, hundreds of thousands of square miles of green forests and thousands of hectares of beautiful cultivated and well managed farms.

13th May 2024 at 11:32 am
Dave Billard

And I can see Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe too.

13th May 2024 at 10:41 am