Sunday, July 31, 2011

Canadian Federal Provincial Energy Conference on Resource Exploitation

In the middle of July Canada's energy ministers met in Kananaskis, Alberta to discuss creating a national energy strategy and opportunities in the mining sector. The annual conference between federal, provincial and territorial officials was held between July 16th and 19th.

Predictably, Conservative Federal Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver said it was "in the interest of all Canadians, from coast to coast, to exploit the enormous natural resources we have."

For pro-oil Conservatives, now is the time to push ahead with an environmentally hazardous resource exploitation policy. After the Conservative election victory earlier this year, many companies associated with the old energy economy are counting on a regulatory environment that expedites the exploitation of Canada's natural resources.

Prior to the meeting, Sierra Club's executive director, John Bennett, indicated that he wants to see a change in the whole focus of the meeting. Rather than trying to increase the country's oil exports, the ministers should discuss ways to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to the war on climate change.

Roger Gibbins, president of the Canada West Foundation, a non-profit, public policy organization which represents Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, said the diversity of energy sources in this country make a national strategy worthwhile. However, Gibbins conceded that Alberta's massive oil reserves, particularly the toxic tar sands, put Alberta in the driver's seat when it comes to energy policy.

Alberta and the Federal government share a common desire to exploit the tar sands, and many other provinces seem prepared to accept the environmental havoc it will wreak.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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