An Energy Strategy for Canada

  • Michal C. Moore University of Calgary

Abstract

Canada 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 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.
As the steward of one of the largest, most diverse and valuable energy "banks" in the world, Canada has a unique opportunity to exploit a critical and valuable economic niche in the world economy. Given the lack of federal leadership and the tendency for each province to undercut each other in the same marketplace, there is also the distinct possibility the nation will squander the opportunity.
This document offers the rationale for a comprehensive energy 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 or denying the fundaments of the Canadian Constitution, First Nations people, and the role of provinces in managing the resources within their borders. This recommended energy strategy highlights changes occurring in world markets that threaten successful, coherent energy policy development in the absence of a unifying strategy. This strategy highlights the need to look ahead, understand these changes, and create adaptive, unifying processes that will provide longterm economic and geopolitical stability using energy as the common denominator for Canada's future.

Published
2015-10-14
Section
Research Papers