The Next National Dream

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[mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]W[/mk_dropcaps]HEN CANADA’S 13 provincial and territorial premiers announced last August that they would finalize a Canadian Energy Strategy in advance of their 2015 annual Council of the Federation conference this summer, they had no way of knowing how much the Canadian energy landscape would change in the interim.

[/vc_column_text][mk_padding_divider size=”25″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][mk_image src=”http://www.energy-exchange.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/iStock_000039809804_Full.jpg” image_width=”300″ image_height=”300″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” desc=”SIMPLYCREATIVE /ISTOCKPHOTO” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][mk_image src=”http://www.energy-exchange.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ThinkstockPhotos-87695998.jpg” image_width=”300″ image_height=”300″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”HEMERA TECHNOLOGIES /THINKSTOCK”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][mk_image src=”http://www.energy-exchange.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ThinkstockPhotos-467189315.jpg” image_width=”300″ image_height=”300″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”MAXVIS/THINKSTOCK”][mk_image src=”http://www.energy-exchange.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ThinkstockPhotos-512254017.jpg” image_width=”300″ image_height=”300″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”DORANJCLARK /THINKSTOCK”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][mk_image src=”http://www.energy-exchange.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/700-00983362a.jpg” image_width=”300″ image_height=”300″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”©ALEC PYTLOWANY/MASTERFILE”][mk_image src=”http://www.energy-exchange.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ThinkstockPhotos-87740522.jpg” image_width=”300″ image_height=”300″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”JUPITERIMAGES /THINKSTOCK”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”25″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Gut-wrenching change, as it turned out, fuelled by the rapid and massive drop in oil prices. Falling prices have already taken a big toll on government budgets in oil-rich provinces, with consequences for everything from infrastructure and education to health care and the environment. The rest of Canada is feeling it, too — be it cuts in federal government revenue, a lower dollar, shifting economic activity or slower growth overall. Adding to the anxiety surrounding Canada’s energy future are longer standing issues, ranging from escalating uncertainty over pipeline construction, market access for our energy products, assertion of the rights and priorities of First Peoples in Canada, and new momentum among the provinces for carbon pricing and commitments to fight climate change.

These dramatic events are stressful. To observers and proponents of a national energy strategy, however, they reaffirm the urgency and importance of the Council of the Federation completing its work on this file. Given the strategy’s rocky start (it was first proposed at the council level in 2007, then revived in 2012 by then Alberta premier Alison Redford), to see consensus in 2015 on a meaningful document will be an achievement in itself. But the promise is something more: the forging of a shared national strategic interest around energy and the creation of a co-operative environment on critical issues such as energy infrastructure, carbon pricing and the move to cleaner energy of all forms. The goal? To put Canada in the best possible position to maximize its energy potential, meet environmental commitments, and drive future economic and social prosperity.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][mk_image src=”http://www.energy-exchange.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/06888940.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”568″ crop=”true” lightbox=”true” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ title=”Quebec Premier Couillard and Ontario Premier Wynne agree to an electricity-sharing plan in 2014.” desc=”THE CANADIAN PRESS/CLEMENT ALLARD”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

“The situation today gives a very good example of why it’s important to have a national view on energy,” says Normand Mousseau, a Université de Montréal physics professor and co-chair of the Quebec Commission on Energy Issues, which reported in early 2014. “The drop in oil prices is sending Alberta’s finances and economy into very deep trouble.”

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