The 5,000

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Since you are reading this, you are one of ‘the 5,000’ who actively read my blogs, even if it’s not every one. 5,000 represents a best seller in Canada so you are part of a respectable circulation. Though, as a follower of the modern natural gas debate in Quebec, you may feel some days more like ‘the 300’ of Spartan fame. A year ago I first wrote on why not to write a blog. A year on is there good reason to write one? Judging by the vehemence of some opponents the conclusion must be yes.

My blog has been at times a sole voice in Quebec defending the competence of our industry and the people who work in it. It has surprised and frustrated many, especially opponents, to be directly and sometimes controversially challenged on accepted dogma. It has encouraged many not to give up on the file. We have even seen important voices join the debate to ask the rational question ‘if what we hear in Quebec is true, how is it possible for Western Canada to reliably supply us with natural gas?’

My blog often made headlines in Quebec and it deflected the course of the debate on many occasions.

However, we are not even close to achieving social acceptability in Quebec. Generally Quebecers believe that modern natural gas technology is not ready and simply, is not yet safe. This will be news to Western Canadians. We have been using it for some time now to supply natural gas stoves in Montreal’s renowned restaurants not to mention to be able to afford equalization payments. News to China, who have invested billions to gain access to Western Canadian technology and know-how. News also to you, ‘the 5,000’.

It is difficult to dispute that Western Canadians are the world’s best at on-shore natural gas development. Best does not mean perfect or impact free. However, we have all the technology of Americans with better regulatory outcomes on safety and the environment. It’s not just Questerre but our whole industry who needs Quebeckers to know that saying Western Canadians don’t know how to manage the impacts of producing natural gas is like saying Hydro Quebec doesn’t know how to build or manage dams.

Alberta may be the biggest producer of heavy oil in Canada but Quebec is Canada’s biggest consumer of foreign bunker fuel oil. We need Quebeckers to know they can make a significant contribution to emissions reductions in Canada by adjusting their energy diet. It’s a bonus they could grow their economy at the same time. Yes, as we have heard loud and clear, there will be impacts but nothing is stopping Quebec from being among the world’s best at modern natural gas development. Just the opposite.

I do think there is reason to blog in 2012. If you agree you can make a difference by forwarding your favorite blog of 2011 to your contacts, especially your Quebec contacts, and encourage them to subscribe.

You can also help me have more followers on twitter than my kids. Follow me @mrbinnion.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of us in 2012.