Unfortunately, time is not on our side, and significantly reducing carbon emissions requires immediate action. I believe the time for cautious, incremental change has passed and that we must take bold steps to achieve our climate goals. Nowhere is bold action needed more than in the Canadian energy industry.
By not acting on climate change, not engaging with the world, our national interests were undermined. Under the Conservatives' watch we came within a single vote of having our energy products barred from sale in the EU. In contrast we are reacting to the needs of Albertans and the opportunities arising in the global economy. Alberta now has a true partner in the federal government.
In the long list of market unknowns, Donald J. Trump and the US Presidential race is the unknown. The result of the election could have massive implications on the markets, even if we are unsure about what they are. When looking to commodities, a weaker US dollar will drive prices higher, but this may be offset by concerns over a slowing economy.
It sometimes sounds as though pipeline proponents are the true environmentalists among us. Commentary in favour of the pipelines has followed suit with generous explanations of our current needs and the realities of energy consumption. They ask: are opponents of the pipelines in denial about our current reliance on fossil fuels? And if these bleeding hearts do admit that we do need fossil fuels to power our country, are they comfortable importing Saudi oil forever? I believe that such questions willfully miss the point.
How is it that the national debate is not about bitumen and the future markets for that commodity? Instead, people drone on about pipelines, an abstraction of the petroleum production. The mantra has become: "If we build them, money will come." But will it? Is the world market price for bitumen so attractive that success is assured if we can only get it to tide-water? The answer is simple: No.
On April 17 we Italians will vote on a referendum which aims to hinder oil drilling near our coasts. The Italian government instead forces new domestic drilling for reducing oil imports. Simply opposing oil rigs before our door is short-sighted if we keep on burning more and more oil, provided that it comes from distant countries.
No government should ever be allowed to take money out of the EI fund, and it may be time to consider entrenching that principle in law. Legislation that guarantees that the money workers pay into EI will be there for them when they need it would give those workers and their communities a great deal of comfort. Our new government has made significant steps in ensuring that EI meets the needs of workers and their communities. Guaranteeing the money will be there for them when they need it would be the next logical step.