Everybody knows a bandwagon jumper.
There is arguably no more obnoxious actor in the theatre of pro sports fandom. He’s That Guy who buys up the gear and floods his Facebook feed with the team’s colours when they are winning, retreats into radio silence when the spotlight of success fades away, only to pick up the pompoms again when the winning ways return.
Nobody likes a bandwagon jumper. He basks in unearned glory and abandons his team when they need him the most.
Up until about a year ago, Canada’s energy industry was riding a hot streak. Prices were high - investment and growth on the upswing. Demand for labour was at an all-time high. It was easy to cheer for oil and gas.
But as we enter 2016, a harsher reality has set in. Prices are plummeting and taking investment with them. Instead of creating jobs, the sector is now bleeding them at an alarming rate. And anti-energy special interest groups aren’t letting up. If anything, they sense weakness and they’re pouncing. In sports vernacular, the Canadian energy industry has hit a slump.
Enter Canada’s Energy Citizens – Canadians who care about our oil and gas industry in the good times and bad.
It is up to us, fellow Citizens, to step up. Yes, our team has fallen on hard times. This year will be daunting, there is no question about that. But if we don’t stand up for them, who will? Don’t be a “Bandwagon Billy.” Canada has the third largest oil and gas resources in the world. We are among the most innovative and responsible when it comes to developing that resource for the benefit of Canadians.
Here are six ways you can stick with your team and support Canadian energy in 2016:
Keep supporting pipelines
With depressed prices and reduced demand for our product, the anti-pipeline crowd will attempt to convince us that pipelines are no longer necessary. Decisions loom for the Transmountain, Energy East and Northern Gateway pipelines and when prices recover, we’ll need all the pipeline capacity we can get. A temporary dip in price and demand doesn’t change the fact that pipelines are the safest, greenest, and most efficient way to get our product to market. And demand for Canadian oil and gas is still growing.
Write to your MP about Canada’s climate policy
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with Canada’s premiers 90 days after the UN Climate Summit in Paris to hash out a national climate strategy. That means you have until about the middle of March to be heard. Write to your Member of Parliament and let them know Canada’s climate policy should not compromise the competitiveness of our energy sector, especially in the midst of a downturn like this. It should encourage innovation, productivity and competitiveness.
Be there for one another
Cook a meal for your neighbour who just lost their job. Offer to watch their kids so they can look for new work. Become a regular contributor at your local food bank. We know that in Alberta for example, food bank use has shot up an astounding 23% in the last year, due in some part to the massive job losses in the energy sector. EI claims in Alberta are up more than 100 per cent and, with more layoffs on the horizon in 2016, that will only go up. Let’s band together and help the good people who rely on energy for their livelihood make it through this year.
If you live in Saskatchewan or Manitoba, you’ll head to the polls in 2016. Energy is always a ballot box issue, particularly in Saskatchewan where the province has enjoyed sustained economic growth since Premier Brad Wall’s pro-energy Saskatchewan Party came to power in 2007. In Manitoba, a campaign has been waged to oppose the Energy East pipeline and you can bet it will mobilize come election time. As we’ve already seen in Alberta, elections outcomes matter. So get involved.
We know Canada’s energy story is a good news story. We know it injects about $100 billion a year into the national economy. We know it sustains more than 400,000 jobs from coast to coast. We know oil and natural gas companies have spent $1.3 billion in clean energy technology. And we know the oil sands has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% over the last 25 years. Now is not the time to stop telling this story.
Become one of Canada’s Energy Citizen
If you haven’t yet, head over to energycitizens.ca and sign up. We’ll keep you informed throughout the year and equip you with what you will need to change the conversation around Canadian energy. If you have, great. Stay tuned and stay involved. We are building a strong, informed and motivated movement in support of Canadian energy, and the best is yet to come.