Trending in Business – Oil, Pipelines and Canada’s Future

By Grant T. Smith


oil2Last week I heard an interview with our Prime Minister in which he talked about phasing out the oil sands projects in Alberta. This grand statement caused, to no one’s surprise, all kinds of fuss in the province. Earlier this month, the government of Canada approved the process to start construction on two new (or expanded pipeline) projects. What I’d like to explore is how these two disparate statements can be reconciled.


If you have followed my earlier editorials you know that I approve of the construct of further pipelines. You also know that I want safeguards and standards to address risk in a responsible manner. The pipeline issue is not our topic and I will avoid the distraction, suffice to say I support pipeline infrastructure.


I also support phasing out our reliance on fossil fuels.  


The former is a mid-term objective the latter is a long-term objective. Pipelines are essential to safely deliver Alberta’s oil to a strong fossil fuel market, while the market is thriving and yes, the cost of the infrastructure will bear fruit over the life of the wells. But if we believe that the children of our children will still be using such fuels to drive their cars, to heat their homes and to power their economy, we are mistaken.


The goal of our government should be to support the current economy, while building the economy of tomorrow. We must invest in advanced education and new technologies in order to build a country that can lead the world into the future.  I believe that controls today and aggressive goals of cutting carbon for tomorrow will force innovation from our business leaders and, in the interest of clarity, we have some of the greatest minds in the world right here at home.


If the world’s most powerful nation is going to pretend that global warming is a non-issue for the next four years, we have an opportunity to get a four year head start – let’s get going.