Canada forgets that natural resources made us what we are today

Image credit: Justin Tang, Canadian Press. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speak during a meeting on Parliament Hill in 2016.

It may come as surprise looking back on it, but yes, Canada was first seen as desirable destination because of its abundance of natural resources.

For example, the history of the fur trade in Canada is a thick volume of stories that provide the themes of the nation’s collective story.

Not only did Europeans come to the land to get beaver pelts, but they encountered many of the great challenges we know from great mythological stories: Man versus the chaotic climate and brutal elements of a new, vast, undocumented territory, man versus the unknown, and man chasing down wildlife.

Although marred today by the word imperialism, the moral of the story in this case is the Canada we know – or used to – came to be because there were valuable resources here that nations wanted.

Fast forward a few hundred years and Canada, already in its current identity crisis, in in fugue with what it wants to do with resource number one: oil.

The oil can’t get to market and we are getting $40 dollars fewer than the United States for our oil compared to theirs. That story doesn’t seem to be changing drastically any time soon.

Concerned, hurtin’ Albertans have to turn to their next favourite government, the provincial NDP, for a little help.

And they have to agree with Alberta’s finance minister, Joe Ceci, too. When he’s not serving up massive deficits like federal minister Bill Morneau, he has a bone to pick with him.

He quite rightfully, I think, said that if Bombardier were suffering from such a “crisis” or the automobile industry, or maybe even the Quebec dairy farming (Mad Max Bernier’s cartel of choice to attack) instead of oil, then perhaps Trudeau and the current red circus occupying office would show a little more enthusiasm in solving the problem.

Now, the oil crisis does not fall solely in the Prime Minister’s lap – although it would easy and neat if it did.

Due to the increasing regulations of the past five years or more, pipelines, that crude, crude word in the ear of the impassioned environmentalist, have a bleak future in Canada.

I guess there is good news. I heard the federal government will get a good return in interest payments on the Trans Mountain pipeline purchase until they start building.


Because if there’s one thing government is good at doing it’s saving extra money for a rainy day.

No matter how sympathetic you are to the effects of climate change, can you argue against getting better value for a product that you already sell, that will better the lives of those who live in the industry, the communities they live, Alberta, and Canada?

I’d lmuch rather build the green machine that runs all our power and is also a sellable resource to the world. It would be so eco-friendly that we could sell it to Vancouver and they can be carbon-free tomorrow – forget 2050.

Although, Albertans will never like a Trudeau or listen hard to what he says, it would mean a lot to Alberta for Ottawa to acknowledge and that the work done in this province helps the country.

Instead, you can find treatises like this from the Canadian government’s website on how carbon pricing will work.

“Canadians know that polluting is not free. We see the costs of droughts, floods and extreme weather, and through the effects on our health. It is time polluters pay.”

It is time polluters pay.

Sounds a little resentful to my ear. Sounds like a pathology disinterested in a pipeline that would transport such a pollutant. Sounds like something British Columbia would nod their heads to like a Dylan song.

In the meantime, the wellbeing of many is affected simply because we’re not laying pipe. At some point, you have to look at your own economic interests as a country.

This has got to be easier.

You know, as easy as implementing a carbon tax, one that penalizes you for heating your home or driving to work, like the one that begins federally in January and doubles down provincially too – you know, the “social license” to build the pipelines in the first place.