Our country has been through a lot in the past few months. The unemployment rate has soared to 13 per cent, compared to 7.8 per cent in March, and many businesses have closed their doors forever. Action has been taken by the Federal government to help preserve jobs, but in the long run, Canada will need a strong natural resource industry to create jobs that support a strong economy. A strong natural resource industry requires the ability for products to be easily exported to customers all over the globe.
One of the reasons Canadian commodity prices have been hit so hard by the OPEC/Russia price war and the COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of market access. This is important in ensuring Canadian resources aren’t only reliant on the American market.
Construction on projects that support market access for Canadian resources has been ongoing throughout the COVID19 crisis. Companies have implemented strict safety protocols and are following all public health guidelines. The Coastal GasLink project is continuing to progress essential activities, in accordance with government guidelines, and have successfully cleared 3/4 of the route.
Trans-Mountain Pipeline (TMX) announced construction will begin in British Columbia in June. TMX will create positive economic benefits for small communities hit by the COVID-19 crisis. In one report several bakeries in the community of Jasper have been kept open by crews working on the project buying sandwiches. Kimberley Stark, who owns the Bear’s Paw Bakery and the Other Paw Bakery, said crews working on TMX have been crucial to keeping her bakeries alive. “If we didn’t have them, there would be no reason to keep the doors open,” she told CBC’s Edmonton AM.
An often mentioned, but worth repeating point, is that Canadian resources are produced at the highest standard with some of the lowest global emissions. Oil for example is a commodity that will continue to be extracted and traded by OPEC and Russia at a much lower standard. If we as Canadian’s really care about climate change we must see it as a truly global issue. One that we have the ability to help solve.
Environmental groups and political parties have lined up to claim that the sector is dead. Many of these groups also spurred on blockades of major projects when times were good. The truth is, that while the oil and natural gas sectors are hurting right now, industry is still building market access. If those groups truly want to support global emissions reductions and care about the health of their country they will support market access and opportunity.
Jack Middleton & Allie Blades