Today, Alberta elected senator Doug Black delivered his first statement to the Senate Chamber on the pressing need for informed thinking on Canada’s energy challenges. Specifically, he called attention to one of the most critical issues currently facing the future of Canada’s energy sector: the lack of sufficient access for Canadian oil and gas to world markets. Senator Black noted that, although, “some Canadians assume that solving Canada’s market access problem will only benefit energy-producing provinces,” this is simply not the case.
In his address, Senator Black discussed:
- The undeniable importance of the energy sector in Canada – $112 billion in energy exports in 2011;
- Job creation, research and development opportunities, and revenue to governments across Canada that result from energy development;
- The projected $50 billion that Canada will lose over the next three years due to constrained market access; and
- The prospect of less government funds for schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and the arts across the country.
Senator Black emphasized in his statement that this challenge, “demands our full attention to resolve as quickly as possible.” He called for an ongoing dialogue in Canada that is needed to, “ensure governments and energy producers have the social license needed to undertake critical infrastructure projects.”
Senator Black has been a long-time proponent for responsible energy development and an advocate for diversifying Canada’s energy markets. He was founding president of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the development of a Canadian energy framework. Senator Black currently serves as the organization’s volunteer chair.