Show respect for your fellow Albertans working in the energy sector

Mark Scholz,
Calgary Herald
January 14, 2017

During and after Jane Fonda’s recent visit to Alberta, it was nice to finally see our political leaders show some respect for our oil and gas industry and the people and families who make it the best in the world.

Premier Rachel Notley said, “I would suggest that dining out on your celebrity is something that one ought to also pair with knowledge and research. (Fonda) failed to do that.”

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean compared Los Angeles to his hometown of Fort McMurray and said he’d take his stomping grounds over Hollywood any day.

Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful Jason Kenney Tweeted “Welcome to Alberta, @Janefonda! FYI, there’s an active oilfield under your Beverly Hills home w/ a higher carbon footprint than our oilsands.”

Frankly, it’s high time all Canadians started showing more respect for our own. Just because an ill-informed actor or radical protester says something negative about Canada’s oil and gas industry, doesn’t make it true. The facts are clear: Canada’s oil and gas is among the most responsibly produced in the world.

Revenues from its export pay for social programs and hospitals, pensions and public parks. Canadian values are the foundation for our industry’s environmental and safety standards, along with its approach to doing business. Fairness, opportunity, compassion, freedom of expression — these are the values that make Canada one of the best places in the world to live. We don’t abandon these principles when it comes to extracting or transporting any of our resources.

For this reason, it is extremely curious that so many Canadians, who either object to fossil fuel use or are concerned we aren’t doing our part for the environment, are so quick to throw their fellow Canadians under the bus instead of educating themselves.

If you take the time to learn the facts — even if you don’t believe in the future of oil and gas as a large part of the world’s energy mix — you’d be hard-pressed to say Canada has done a poor job of extracting and transporting our resources responsibly. But rather than give regular, hard-working people and families the benefit of the doubt; rather than engage in research and introspection; and considering that they may even rely on the benefits of oil and gas themselves, industry opponents quickly and happily condemn their own and jump on board with some popular actor or musician.

As a result, a country that produces less oil per day than the state of Texas, and does so with the best regulations in the world, becomes the target of international scorn, with much of the finger-pointing coming from right here at home.

The facts are simple: if Canada wants to continue to be the great country that it is, it will be much easier to do so from a position of strength. Our spirit of international co-operation and goodwill should not have to come at the expense of Canadians’ quality of life. More to the point, it cannot continue if we keep eroding our economy by delaying major infrastructure projects like pipelines, because we won’t be able to afford it.

Our competitors — one of which has been our biggest customer up until this point — are looking for more innovative ways to get their energy products to market. Canadian pipelines, built the Canadian way, are our best answer to this challenge. Building them does not diminish our standing on the international stage, any more than Norway’s offshore oil rigs have harmed that country’s reputation, despite what a few outspoken fanatics believe.

The trend for countries to increasingly look inward and Canada’s aging demographics mean that if we are hoping to keep our standard of international goodwill high, and continue to share Canadian values, we must develop our internal infrastructure so we can continue to attract investment and keep Canadians healthy and prosperous.

This means building major infrastructure projects like Energy East, and developing our oil and gas industry to Canadian standards. It starts by showing some respect for our own.

Story: Calgary Herald