The Canadian Energy Centre aims to tell Canada’s energy story

By Tom Olsen

Welcome to the Canadian Energy Centre.

At its core, the CEC’s mandate is to create a new, pragmatic, fact-based narrative about Canadian energy.

We will reject what is false and promote what is true.

Our starting point is that Canadian oil and natural gas can make this country and the world better.

We know there will be increasing demand globally for oil and gas for decades to come.

With our industry’s constant and successful quest to reduce its carbon footprint, and with Canada’s world-leading commitment to human rights, labour rights and the environment, there is no question that growing international energy demand should be met by Canada.

Shutting down Canada’s oil and gas industry won’t stop oil or gas from being produced or consumed.

It will simply mean they will be increasingly sourced from regimes that don’t have Canada’s commitment to producing energy responsibly. It also means that we are turning our backs on a major driver of our economy and the related prosperity it brings to all Canadians.

We believe that the climate is changing, that human activity is contributing, and that we all need to do better.

There’s no question we want lower greenhouse gas emissions, as well as clean water, air and land. We support the growth of renewable energy, as well. It’s all part of a larger solution.

But we don’t believe that shutting down the modern industrial economy through an abrupt shift away from fossil fuels makes any sense.

All that would do is make it more difficult and expensive for people to live their lives and prevent those in developing countries from enjoying benefits that come from affordable, accessible energy.

Yet that’s what domestic and foreign-funded campaigns against Canada’s oil and gas industry are advocating. Those campaigns have divided our country and devastated the Alberta economy. They have also ignored that Canadian industry is leading the way in cleaning its operations, resulting in innovations with applications around the world.

The CEC is a provincial corporation under the financial administration act that will largely be funded by Alberta’s energy industry, through the new Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund.

The TIER system was designed to meet the needs of Alberta’s environment and economy. Large industries like oil and natural gas account for more than half of Alberta’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The system encourages industrial facilities to find innovative ways to reduce emissions and invest in clean technology to stay competitive. The CEC will help communicate those improvements.

Now a word about tone. We will be informative, positive and educational — but not shy away from difficult topics.

Our website will reflect that. Our first offerings include features about how Indigenous Canadians are benefitting from involvement in the oil and gas industry; a story about a parent concerned with a presentation to Canadian schoolchildren that contains what he calls misinformation about the oil and gas industry; analyses about why Canadian LNG can reduce global emissions by replacing power from coal.

We invite Canadians and people around the world to join us on this unique and necessary journey to raise understanding of the energy sector’s value to this country and globally through the sharing of knowledge, facts and ideas.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this column identified the Canadian Energy Centre as a Crown corporation. In fact, it is a provincial government corporation. This column has been updated to reflect that fact.