By Medicine Hat News Opinon on December 18, 2019.
Re: “Energy war room an expensive joke at best,” Dec. 14
Since the Canadian Energy Centre’s (CEC) public launch last week, it has been gratifying to see the breadth and depth of interest in our mandate to create a new, pragmatic, fact-based narrative about Canadian energy.
Like many new ideas, our website and social media accounts have prompted a lively discussion about defending the energy industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of people across Canada, and continues to be the economic engine for the country.
Our work is particularly important for communities like Medicine Hat, the “Gas City,” that has been hit hard by the industry downturn in recent years and has even had to shut down much of its own gas production.
Creation of the CEC is a direct response to the domestic and foreign-funded campaigns against Canada’s oil and gas industry that have divided Canadians and devastated the Alberta economy as energy production in the United States and elsewhere has ramped up.
Our approach is to be informative, positive and educational about the Canadian energy industry.
There will be an increasing global demand for oil and gas over the decades to come. With our focus on ever-improving environmental standards and our commitment to labour and human rights, Canada should be the world’s supplier of choice. There is no question about that.
Two-thirds of the CEC’s $30 million budget comes from Alberta’s energy industry through the Technology, Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) program that collects the greenhouse gas emissions levy on the province’s largest emitters. The remaining one-third of our budget is repurposed from the previous government’s advertising fund.
The CEC has a strict budgeting process that involves the corporate directors, a business plan, and expenditure reports in line with the Fiscal Planning and Transparency Act.
We are subject to the Whistle Blowers Act and will be audited by the Auditor General’s office.
Oversight is rigorous.
Our work is necessary.
It has been shown that the campaigns to shut down new pipeline projects and damage the reputation of our oil and gas industry have received tens of millions of dollars from U.S. environmental foundations.
The landlocking of Alberta energy has cost tens of billions of dollars in lost capital, meaning fewer jobs and markedly less money for public services.
On top of that, lack of market access for our oil and gas has had a devastating impact on the prosperity of energy companies operating in Canada – resulting in lost jobs and lower value for their shareholders that include many of the country’s biggest pension plans and investment funds.
We take our responsibility to tell Canada’s energy story very seriously.
We invite everyone to join us in public discourse – the sharing of knowledge, facts and ideas that will help us reach our potential with energy that is produced in the most responsible and sustainable manner possible.
We aim to bring a more measured tone to a conversation we think is vitally important.
(Tom Olsen is CEO and managing director, Canadian Energy Centre.)