Gillian Steward’s op-ed on Albertan politics in the Toronto Star (Wildrose attack on Wynne backfires) makes Wildrose politicians sound like guests at a mad hatter tea party. But her reference to a grudge held by Albertans towards Ontario because of the “long-gone and much-despised National Energy Program (NEP)” makes it sound as though the whole province is living in its own special Wonderland.
Despite fervent wishes that it were not so, the reality is that the Tar Sands have no future. With their carbon content, high extraction costs and a world market for fossil fuels that is in terminal decline, there will be no market demand for unconventional oil and gas. To repeat, even before Canada and the Provinces apply a national carbon fee and remove national and provincial subsidies, exploitation of non-conventional oil from sources such as those in the Tar Sands, is no longer environmentally or financially justified.
This in no way means the end of either the Western or Atlantic conventional oil and gas energy industries. There is adequate Canadian demand for conventionally extracted Canadian Oil and Gas. In Eastern Canada, our current supply comes mostly from overseas. In fact forty percent of Canada’s fossil fuel requirements are imported, so, as long as it is not high-carbon Tar Sands product, Eastern Canada would be a willing customer for what the rest of the country produces.
Does that not seem like common sense? Alberta’s, way out of its particular “Wonderland” will need a national plan, so Albertan politicians should be demanding that the Federal Government develop one.
What we call it should not be the problem. Could we call it a National Energy Plan (NEP)? No that’s too close to the much maligned National Energy Program (NEP). So what about a Canadian Energy Plan (CEP). That should be acceptable.
Whatever we call it let’s get it moving right away.
Contributing Author: Michael Brothers, Council of Canadians (Toronto Branch)
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