An Energy Strategy for Canada An Energy Strategy for Canada An Energy Strategy for Canada

Michal Moore, Michal Moore
2015 unpublished
Keep the dialogue open. Famously it has been said that the first casualty of every battle is the plan, but by the same token no sensible soldier goes into battle without a plan and a guiding strategy. " 1 anada is struggling to fully develop, sell and move its energy resources. This is a dramatic change from the recent past where the U.S. has provided stable growth in demand for energy supplied by the provinces, from hydrocarbons to electricity. Current circumstances now challenge this
more » ... lenge this relationship, adding environmental, policy and economic hurdles that exacerbate the impact of fluctuations in world demand and pricing. In addition, competitive interaction between provinces, aboriginal land owners and special interest groups complicate and compound the issues of royalty returns, regulatory authority and direction, land-use management and long-term market opportunities for Canadian companies. There is no strategic document guiding the country's energy future. Canada needs a thoughtful, unifying map to guide its energy future based on uniting and not separating its provincial constituencies. The country needs a strategic vision for energy development, and use and sale of fuels and raw materials, informed by but not limited by mistakes and policy initiatives of the past. The challenge of working within the Canadian federation must be met in order to compete in a world awash in relatively inexpensive oil and gas resources, where a unified front offers the advantage of national security and long-term market success. Canada is the steward of one of the largest, most diverse and valuable energy "banks" in the world. The management, extraction and transformation of these resources over time presents a complex and compelling opportunity symbolizing the modern dilemma, namely satisfying a basic need while protecting the environment and continuing to improve the welfare of all Canadians. Access to energy is quite literally a social contract. People depend on energy sources to provide heat, light, sustenance and comfort. The nature of the built environment, moreover, highlights the non-negotiable aspects of continuous energy supplies. We can't move goods, or conduct even the most basic commercial exchanges without energy resources. This document offers the rationale for a comprehensive energy 2 strategy, literally a vision where Canada can lead and not follow opportunities in energy markets. This strategic approach to energy systems by definition will include transportation, housing, employment and financial markets. It is not a plan, not a foil for tax or policy guidance in one or more sectors. This strategy is a fundamental rail on which plans, tactics and policies can be built. This vision identifies how the provinces can work together using all the tools available to them, maximizing long-term resource development while minimizing environmental damage. This document assumes there can be a broad commitment and effort by the federal government to help build those tools, providing guidance and assistance where needed without obstructing 1 Canadian Council of Chief Executives July 2012 2 Energy is used throughout this document to indicate a range of energy sources from liquid hydrocarbons used primarily in vehicles, to natural gas, radioactive fuels and renewables used for electricity generation. C Recently, a social media-directed public debate has emerged, signaling a vote of "no-confidence" for traditional energy and infrastructure regulation. Policymakers have backed away from controversial and new-paradigm energy projects under threat of diminishing budgets, public protest and a diffuse but powerful NIMBY trend pitting communities against each other. In Canada, project proponents and infrastructure investors find themselves in the uncomfortable position of de-facto policy making, initiating projects that anticipate need(s) or opportunities, rather than following initiatives or policy objectives already vetted by policy makers. 3 The range of resources is geographically vast including hydro, oil and gas and uranium. 4 Energy flows are involved throughout the economy, but for direct sector contributions Statistics Canada reports ~8% for mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction, and ~3% for export sales of energy products. 5 Legislation to allow this happen is pending in the current Congress.