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With its most recent report attacking Canada’s oil and natural gas industry, Environmental Defence Canada is using the fringe activist playbook by combining biased opinion and manipulated data and dressing it all up as a research report.
“We need new discoveries to uphold employment and value creation” – Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Mines, Tina Bru Norway gets it. It’s only the world’s 15th largest oil producing nation - Canada ranks 4th – but Norway gets it. The country recognizes how critical its oil and natural gas industry is to the health and well-being of the economy and its citizens. As a country, Norway recognizes you can have a world-class industry, producing an essential product, while still being an environmental leader. This is why Norway took immediate action to assist its offshore industry weather the combined storm of the COVID-19 pandemic and Saudi-Russia price war. Action included taxation adjustments to reduce their breakeven costs by 40 per cent and opening up new exploration blocks. All in order to stimulate their battered offshore sector and protect jobs. Norway’s adjustments already resurrected one project – mere weeks after it was postponed. As the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru aptly stated, “We need new discoveries to uphold employment and value creation”. Canada, it would appear, doesn’t get it. Our offshore industry provides good, mortgage-paying jobs for more than 6,000 Canadians – and there are thousands more whose livelihoods are supported by a supply chain involving more than 600 Atlantic Canadian companies. While Norway acted with urgency, Canada has not. Requests from industry, Canadians, and the provincial government have - to date - been met with a an inadequate response. It has been more than two months since Minter of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, said that he and his government “fully understand the urgency of the situation” and a month since he was quoted in The Telegram stating help was coming “very soon” for the sector. But on July 20, 2020 the Minister quietly stated “it’s not something that’s going to happen anytime soon”. Canada’s activists have spared no effort in advocating for the end of our offshore oil and natural gas industry. In typical fashion, they continue to oppose Canadian development at all costs and ignore how Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas industry represents one of the lowest carbon per barrel footprints in the world. Canadian families have sent more than 2,000 letters in support of our offshore industry while environmental activists published an open letter calling for the end of the industry. Who has the federal government listened to? Not the thousands of families who have spoken out in support of our offshore… Will Canada finally join Norway, a fellow offshore industrial country, in supporting a vibrant, innovative and vital sector? Or will we let the direction of our country be determined by those who are ideologically opposed to natural resource development of any kind? If you support Canada’s offshore industry and think it can play a part in our economic recovery, let the federal government know by sending an email today by clicking here. It only takes a minute and your voice will make all the difference.
It seems like every week there is a new report from some activist organization trying to push the mythical narrative that the production of oil and natural gas in Canada is heavily subsidized. They are simply wrong. Take for example a report this week by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) – one of the leading publishers of ‘fossil fuel subsidy reports’. Their report alleges Canada subsidized fossil-fuel producers with $16 billion in aid in response to the pandemic, while providing very little to other priorities. That $16 billion figured seemed a lot higher than anything we have seen reported, so we decided to take a look at their numbers. Interestingly, the IISD’s report includes a number of initiatives any reasonable person would find a stretch to consider a ‘fossil fuel subsidy’. Here’s a list: ‘Highway and bridge replacements as part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19’ - $1.9 Billion. Highway and bridge investments, Alberta $234.43 million. ‘Stimulus to advance highway projects’ in Manitoba. Funding for lost revenues in the aviation industry in the Yukon, $9.96 million. Reduction in vehicle registration fees in Manitoba $8.06 million. Purchase of natural gas power plants in Ontario for electricity generation - $2.05 billion. Waiving of rent for ground leases for 21 airport authorities - $242.78 million. To us, it seems a little odd to include infrastructure investments designed to put people back to work under the umbrella of ‘fossil fuel subsidies’ - it is even weirder to include state-owned insurance providers reducing vehicle registration fees when no one is driving. And last we checked, a Tesla still requires a road. NONE of those are subsidies for the oil and gas industry or could even be considered direct support for oil and oil natural gas production. In fact, the entire narrative activist groups have created on oil and natural gas production being heavily subsidized does not exist – which has been recently confirmed by our own federal government. According to a briefing note from Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN): “Given the nature of NRCAN’s direct spending (i.e. innovation and environmental performance), the department does not provide any inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful production or consumption of fossil fuels” And, in recently speaking with the National Observer, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Catherine McKenna stated “we eliminated all of the fossil fuel subsidies at the federal level”. These activist publications have the right to advocate for their cause, but not with inaccurate or misleading information on an industry so integral to Canada’s economic recovery and continued prosperity.