In one of the great ironies of modern Canadian life, a country with plentiful oil reserves has imported $488 billion in foreign oil since 1988. This is so despite the presence of the one of the world’s largest oil reserves from Newfoundland to British Columbia (their offshore reserves) to onshore deposits on the prairies.
One critical problem for political and business leaders alike is to try and get people to think outside their own local “box.” While most people might well prefer a local restaurant or coffee shop to a national chain, international trade is the very reason why a Canadian restaurant can offer vegetables in winter, from Mexico, for example: because they’re fresh and cheaper, as greenhouse vegetables for all Canadians for six months a year would be exorbitant in price.
Between 1969 and 2019, Canadian parents received $499 billion in family allowance payments and children’s benefits from the federal government. That 50-year cost was matched almost exactly by $505 billion in revenues to governments from the oil and gas sector. That included everything from oil and natural gas royalties to corporate and personal income taxes (from those in the oil and gas sector) to property taxes, except that such taxpayer cash was collected over just 20 years, between 2000 and 2019.
With the exception of a few blessed spots in southern Ontario and southern British Columbia, Canada is a cold northern country. That means that for six months of the year or more, snow can pile up on streets, highways, your driveway, and condominium and apartment exit ramps. And if one takes a trip beyond urban Canada any time of the year, it sometimes helps to have a sturdy vehicle that manoeuvres well on mountain roads in case of a late or early-season snowfall.
Commentary: Research firm’s new base case helps build oil and gas bridge to global emissions reductions
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton once talked about building a bridge to the 21st century. If the goal today is to help reduce global emissions in the 21st century, why can’t oil and gas be the foundation for that bridge?