The 20th century famously was going to belong to Canada, according to Sir Wilfred Laurier. http://www.parli.ca/twentieth-century-belongs-canada/ . It didn’t quite turn out that way. Canada turned out to be the reliable junior partner to Britain, then America and often the international community. Through two world wars and international peace keeping, we showed that Canada can be trusted to punch above our weight and do the right thing. Canadians have a lot to be proud of and deserve our amiable international reputation.
We can afford to be generous. Canada is blessed to be the second largest country in the world with a relatively small population. We have more resources that the world’s largest economies need, than we could ever hope to use ourselves. Even better, we have the enormous geopolitical advantage of both, having the shortest trade routes to the world’s largest economies and being one of the world’s most trusted partners.
One of the great advantages of resources is they can’t be outsourced. While the production of Blackberry’s might move to Asia, Canadian wheat must be grown by Canadian farmers. As Canadians we must also take note that resources are one of the few hopes of our indigenous peoples to enjoy prosperous lives on their traditional lands.
While the 20th century turned out to belong to Canada’s senior partners, the 21st century is still within our grasp. Billions of human beings aspire to a Western lifestyle. A trustworthy provider of resources, produced with the lowest carbon footprint, utilizing the shortest trade routes will be more valuable to the international community than ever before. This century can belong to Canada, still punching above our weight as an essential economic partner to the world’s largest economies.
Telling Canada not to produce the resources the world needs is like telling Florida not to grow oranges or Hawaii to ban tourism. Yet for decades, environmentalists have been telling us that the planet is in trouble and we need to reduce Canadian resource production or even ‘leave it in the ground’.
If the planet is in trouble how could the solution be less Canada? Wouldn’t the world need more Canada?
Environmentalists protest Canada because it’s easy, not because we’re the problem. Canadian junior partner niceness represents low-hanging fruit to professional protesters in a world where other jurisdictions don’t care as much about international opinion. It’s obvious that US-funders of environmental groups have other agendas, when the US now exports oil &gas to Canada and has beaten Canada to international LNG markets.
Norwegians understand that capitulating and shutting down their oil and gas industry would make the world’s environment worse, not better. The International Panel on Climate Change and international environmental organizations warn about carbon leakage. Carbon leakage occurs when local policies to shut down industry have the effect of creating even more carbon when other countries step in to replace production. Norway recognizes that problem and it’s why their policymakers ensure their oil & gas industry is internationally competitive, as well as environmentally responsible and sustainable. Norwegians care about the global environment so they support their oil and gas industry to prevent carbon leaks.
Our current policies are making the world’s environment worse at the expense of Canadian workers. Preventing Canadian LNG from reaching China leaks massive amounts of carbon by ensuring that brown coal is burned instead. By not focusing on the competitiveness of our oil and gas industry, we create environmental problems elsewhere; often under regulatory systems with questionable human rights records. How can that possibly help the planet?
Canada’s oil and gas industry is ranked even higher than Norway’s for the strictness and effectiveness of our regulatory system. How much better than best, does Canada need to be, before we put our big boy pants on like Norway?
Empty, symbolic gestures will not help the global environment but they will hurt Canadian workers and indigenous peoples. We need to stand up to US-funded groups at home and internationally. Canadians can be proud of being the best in the world and do our part to actually help the planet by stopping carbon leaks.
In the 21st century the world needs more Canada. Let’s give the world what it needs.