A Fair Deal Includes Energy Security
It's a concept that has been ignored by many - including our federal government in Ottawa - for far too long.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has suddenly helped the world realize what's been obvious to many Albertans for a long time - we still need oil and gas!
The same parade of politicians who crusaded to save the world from the threat of "catastrophic" climate change are now coming to the realization that there is a fundamental flaw in the Green New Deal / Leave It In The Ground / Build Back Better strategy.
Energy is the industry that powers every other industry - and as such, a safe supply of affordable, reliable energy is not only good for the domestic economy but also a crucial tool in an increasingly volatile international geopolitical landscape.
Earlier this week, after a big push by our friends at the Alberta Institute, and many other political and non-profit groups, the federal government finally announced that they would ban the importation of Russian oil.
Russia's aggressive actions, and the related uncertainty, have now driven the price of crude oil over the $115/bbl benchmark.
[Editor's note: we had to increase that price four times while writing this piece!]
Thankfully, Canada has a large supply of energy resources, resources that could displace the loss of Russian imports and help keep energy affordable for Canadians.
Of course, it would have been better if our calls had been listened to years ago, and we had the infrastructure in place already!
But, as the saying goes:
The best time to build a pipeline was 20 years ago.
The second-best time is now!
If our politicians had any sense, Keystone XL and Energy East would have been given emergency approval the moment war broke out.
Yet, here we are, a week into a European war, and there's been nary a whisper from the White House or Rideau Cottage.
To make matters worse, the pipeline issues aren't even the only possible problem on the horizon.
Higher oil prices can help economic growth across the country, not just in Alberta.
But with this current boom coinciding with major inflationary pressures, there are risks too.
High energy prices and the ensuing increase in the cost of living will hurt.
The Rest of Canada will complain that Alberta has it so good, while they struggle to pay their hydro bills.
Will the Rest of Canada decide to start extracting their own plentiful natural resources, currently kept in the ground for nonsensical environmental concerns?
Of course not.
Ottawa will, undoubtedly, devise yet another means of wealth redistribution instead.
Once again, they'll figure out a way to make Alberta pay for their poor policy choices.
They probably won't have the gall to call it a "National Energy Program".
But they might.
No matter where you live in Canada, this isn't good news for our country's national unity.
Remember, the major issues driving Western alienation are structural deficiencies in Confederation, deficiencies that have only gotten worse in recent decades, not better.
At Project Confederation, our mission is clear:
To build a movement that will reform Confederation and achieve a fairer deal, in whatever legal configuration that may require.
I suspect we're going to have a lot of work to do in the coming months!