Global energy markets have been thrown into turmoil over the past handful of years. Now, policymakers are seeing that it absolutely does matter where you source your energy supplies from, as shortages have gripped nations in Europe, Asian and elsewhere across the globe.
Meanwhile, anti-Canadian oil and gas activists continue to sing the same old tune despite the severe and real-world consequences we are seeing abroad in places like Europe. They continue to advocate for the complete shut down of Canadian oil and gas as part of the fight against climate change, but fail to see how doing so would make the planet worse off all the while global energy demand continues to skyrocket.
The question remains: where should we choose to get our oil and gas from given the global challenges we face today?
Mike Smyth, host of The Mike Smyth Show on 980 CKNW out of Vancouver joins Ryan Fournier, Young Canadians for Resources to discuss why choosing Canada’s oil and gas for future supply is in our best interest.
Or, keep reading for everything said between Ryan, Mike and Peter of the Wilderness Committee below, and also be sure to check out some of our other radio events:
- DEBATE: Should Canadian Energy Be a Part of the UN’s Climate Change Conference?
- DEBATE: Should Canada Be Taxing the “Excess Profits” of Energy Companies?
- DEBATE: Does the Oil & Gas Divestment Campaign Hurt or Help Canadians?
Where is the Best Country to Buy Oil and Gas From?
Mike: Let's talk about Canada's oil and gas sector.
Now, climate change groups stepping up their campaigns against Canadian energy production, especially the oil sands in Alberta.
And supporters of Canadian oil and gas though, say Canada's oil is way better than foreign oil from countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia because we have better environmental restrictions. And oh, by the way, we also have better human rights records than these other countries.
Got a great panel standing by to discuss this.
Have a listen to Alberta conservative MP Rachel Thomas here, speaking in the House of Commons.
Rachel: This industry has the highest environmental standards in the world when it's developed here in Canada. And then hold on, let's talk about another thing, too. Let's talk about the fact that it's ethically produced.
We have ethics in this country, folks. It's amazing. The same cannot be said for Saudi Arabia. The same cannot be said for Russia. So while this government would prefer to prop up those true dictatorships, I certainly do not.
Mike: This is that ethical oil debate, right? Environmental activists not buying it.
Have a listen to anti-oil sands activist Naomi Klein here.
Naomi: He compared the tar sands oil to fair-trade coffee and free-range chickens. Do you know that they're running ads on the Oprah network saying that by buying tar sands oil, you're helping to free women in Saudi Arabia?
I mean, I'm from Canada, and let me tell you something. We don't have ethical oil in Canada. We have tar sands oil, which is like regular oil, but a whole lot dirtier.
Mike: Okay, we've got a great panel on this. Now we have both sides of it for you.
Ryan Fournier on the line. Ryan is a student at the University of Ottawa. He is a member of Young Canadians for Resources. Ryan, thanks for coming on today.
Ryan: Thanks, Mike, for having me.
Mike: You bet.
Peter McCartney, also on the line, climate campaigner at the Wilderness Committee in Vancouver.
Hi, Peter, thank you for coming on.
Peter: Hey, thanks for the invite.
Mike: Okay, thanks guys for doing this.
Ryan, let me go to you first. I've been checking out your website here, Young Canadians for Resources here. Tell me the message of your group.
Ryan: So the message of our group largely is to promote ethically produced Canadian energy and Canadian resources over authoritarian or unreliable and less friendly, less clean resource models that are seen right now dominating the market trade.
Mike: Okay, so it's the ethical oil argument.
Peter, what do you think of that argument?
Peter: Oh, I think it's just a bunch of bollocks, like ethical by what standard? Environmentally friendly by what standard?
Because our oil is the only oil that you have to boil out of the sand in order to create actual crude. And that means that the carbon emissions of our oil are higher than most other places on the planet.
It also means in the tarsands, the cancer rates of Indigenous communities who live nearby these projects are higher than elsewhere in the province.
And so are you considering this ethical to poison the people that live nearby these tar sands projects? It's an industry talking point that has been frustratingly stubborn.
But the other side of this coin is that our oil is also the most expensive and I don't see anyone around the world willing to pay double the price at the pump in order to get Canada oil.
So I don't see the logic of when we export our oil, all of a sudden Russia and Saudi Arabia and all these other countries are going to have to cut back. It just doesn't make sense.
Mike: Ryan, what do you say to that?
Ryan: Thanks again Mike for having me and Peter for coming on. I think it's important to get student voices out there on conversations that matter in relation to our future.
I believe we are actors and innovators of a new and better future and that's why I, along with 99 other students have pledged to choose Canadian energy, not war oil.
And it has amassed over 7.5 thousand supporters across Canada. And we started this campaign because we really care about human rights and environmental protection and sustainable future, and therefore we care about making sure the world's vital energy supply comes from Canada and not depending on authoritarian and war funding oil sources.
I can't understand how Peter disagrees that when we talk about energy which comes from Canada and compare it with Venezuela, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the most oppressive and climate destroying producers on earth, I think it's clear energy has to come from Canada.
Canadian energy is the answer, not the problem. Let's have an honest discussion on global energy demand and market dependencies on cheap, unethical and abusive oil producers and regimes.
These protests by Peter and his friends to shut down Canadian pipelines have only helped countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Russia monopolize and weaponize their oil and gas markets.
Mike: Peter, what do you say to that?
Peter: It doesn't make sense. If we are exporting Canadian oil, what Russian refinery is shutting down because a pipeline got built in Canada?
It's not a thing, no matter how much Ezra Levant and the oil backers want to make it a thing. But the truth is young people by and large in this country, with the exception of Ryan's small group, a million young people marched in the street across this country three years ago demanding action on climate change.
We understand that the world is moving away from oil and gas and the sooner it does the better. And so I do think that for young people who are looking at a career in the future, to be looking at oil and gas is like being a farrier in the early 1900s hundreds making horseshoes, and understand that this industry doesn't have a future.
Mike: Ryan, what do you say to that? Like when you talk to other university students, you're at the University of Ottawa, you're part of this students group that supports Canadian oil and gas. Do you feel like you're in the minority there on campus?
Ryan: Absolutely not. Let me tell Peter that oil and gas demand is going up and students see that new oil production for the next year is going to Qatar, Venezuela.
So when you're saying that somehow shutting down Canadian energy is to send these deals elsewhere to less friendly and less clean producers, that is just a lie.
Pipeline protests hurt global sustainability and equitable prosperity for all, which makes it harder to get the world off of war oil.
Canada, as the third largest producer with some of the most democratic values on planet Earth, are being restricted unless the world is forced to buy Russian and Saudi.
We are seeing it right now.
Mike: Ryan, what about Peter's point, though, that Canadian oil is very expensive compared to these other countries? And why would anyone in the world buy more expensive oil if they can buy it cheaper from Russia or Saudi Arabia?
Ryan: Honestly, that makes sense in what he's saying, but the fact is that young people don't support human rights abuse. We support equality, we support environmental sustainability.
And that's not possible if we put the future of our climate and energy security in the hands of dictators and authoritarians.
Students are pro choosing Canadian energy over oppressive and environment-destroying energy sources. This isn't about profits. This is about Canadian values that we stand for, free speech and expression, the freedom to love who you want to love, a country that respects its workers and treats them with dignity.
That is not seen in Qatar and Venezuela, where these deals are now going to.
Mike: Peter, what do you say to that?
Peter: I think young people do support human rights all over the world. And human rights are trampled by the fossil fuel industry wherever it takes place.
They are trampled in northern Alberta, and they are trampled in Venezuela, Russia, Nigeria, everywhere that fossil fuel companies can throw their weight around and corrupt politicians. We see that people on the ground pay the price.
But the biggest threat to human rights in the world is climate change. You cannot separate the ability for people to live safely in their communities from their fundamental human rights as people.
And so you are right that we have to get off Russian and Qatari and Venezuelan oil, and the best way to do that is to get off of oil. And the good news is that we're doing it.
As far as the student angle goes, the U of C paused admissions on their petroleum engineering program because of five years of declining enrollment.
And so I think that just goes to show you that young people know which way the puck is skating on this one, and they know how to get out of it.
Mike: All right, welcome back.
As we continue our oil and gas debate, my guests are Ryan Fournier, Young Canadians for Resources, Peter McCartney, at the Wilderness Committee.
Phone lines are open. 604-280-9898 star 9898 on your cell. Let's go to Dev on the line in Vancouver. Hi, Dev. Go ahead.
Dev: Hey, Mike.
First of all, Ryan, I'm really proud of you. Thank you for showing us that you have the ability to think, to ask questions, and not to buy into this narrative.
The person you're debating, Peter, he came on this radio once and told us how great Nigeria is. So if someone is telling us how great Nigeria is and is not criticizing human rights abuses in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, that should tell you all you need to know.
Mike: But let's let Peters defend himself. Peter, go ahead.
Peter: I'm sure Nigeria is a beautiful country. The human rights are important, whether they're the human rights of Indigenous People in Canada to self-determination and making decisions about what happens on the territories they've stewarded for generations, and they're also important all over the world.
And so I think actually there's an element of racism in the idea that those other countries are treating people poorly and we are all somehow saints. I think that we need to examine every country's human rights record properly and speak up whenever we can.
Mike: Okay. Paul on the line in South Surrey. Hi, Paul. Go ahead.
Paul: Thank you for taking my call. I think, Peter, that for all your good measure, I think most Canadians, like yourself, especially young Canadians, are fickle and they're distracted.
I think you don't really understand geopolitical assets that you claim to. Russia has weaponized energy. Our allies in Europe have begged us to assist them with distributing our oil and gas. It benefits Canada to a great deal.
Look at BC. They have a $6 billion surplus this year. Undoubtedly, your groups, your environmental groups will have their hand out to David Eby asking him for money.
Where do you think that comes from? How do you think people in the north get educated and better jobs for their life? Right.
Mike: Let me give Peter a chance. Peter, go ahead.
Peter: Yeah, I mean, first of all, Europe's response to Russian correctly weaponizing, or you are correct that they are weaponizing fossil fuels.
Europe's response has been to get off of fossil fuels and redouble their efforts to have climate action. There is absolutely nothing Canada can do to get liquefied natural gas over to Europe in the timeline that this war is taking place on.
And so it's very clear that Europe is choosing to get off of fossil fuels as fast as possible. I don't know why we would invest time and energy and money into building new infrastructure that's going to be obsolete by the time it's finished.
Mike: Okay, let me give Ryan a turn. Ryan Fournier. Go ahead. Your thoughts?
Ryan: All right, well, I just want to say I agree with both of the callers. I mean, students and young people have been misled by many of these groups like Peters', who ignore the bigger picture.
Young Canadians support human rights and the environment, as well as a viable economic future for themselves and their family. We say yes to everything and to sustainable resource development which benefits Canadian families.
The opposite of this is Peter's rhetoric of shut it all down, saying no to the most responsibly produced energy in the world and instead ignoring where the energy will come from in substitution that's insane and helps no one.
We cannot shut down oil and gas, as Peter says, and that is demonstrably false. We need all of the above in terms of energy for generations to come. Why shouldn't it come from one of the world's largest producing, with highest standards of human rights and environmental protection?
Mike: Back to the calls. Paul in South Surrey. Oh, sorry, let me go to the next call. Chris and Langley. Hi, Chris. Hi.
Chris: I just want to ask Peter what his solution is. What sustainable, affordable replacement for oil and gas do you have?
Because we can't change over until we have a plan, a viable...
Mike: Peter, what do you say to that? Good question.
Peter: Yeah, I mean, the good news is that there are tons of people studying this, and electric vehicles, batteries for them are getting cheaper every year. But yeah, they are still expensive.
And so we should be giving everyone who possibly can the opportunity to take transit or cycle and walk around their communities, building dense walkable communities so that people can get around with their daily needs without using fossil fuels.
When it comes to the gas you burn in your home, heat pumps, once you install them, are cheaper to run than the fracked gas that you're currently receiving. It's cheaper to build homes without a gas line.
And so with the largely renewable and clean energy that Canada has, we can do all the things we need to do with fossil fuels, or we currently do with fossil fuels, we can do with renewable energy. And that's the way to do this. It's affordable.
The only thing missing is the political leadership to get it done.
Mike: Ryan Fournier. Running out of time. So, Ryan, you're into the last word here. You got 30 seconds. Go ahead.
Ryan: Peter seems to just say no and takes the easy way out and says shut down everything when you should join young people on a path to get something done the right way. He's not telling the full story.
Everything you are wearing today, Peter, came from a truck that came from asphalt across asphalt. Even the signs for your protests are accessible because of oil and gas and Canadian forestry. We need Canadian solutions.
That's my final words.
Mike: Okay, Peter, I'll give you a quick response. Go ahead.
Peter: Scientists tell us that these climate disasters that we're seeing only keep getting worse until we stop burning fossil fuels.
So the sooner the better. And we can do it. We have all the technology we need.
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