Checking the Facts and Dispelling Misinformation Regarding Canada’s Natural Resources
Canadians must take a stand against misinformation that seeks to discredit our natural resource sector. After all, the sector is a major Canadian wealth generator, job creator and environmental leader. In 2018, the sector accounted for approximately 17% of Canada’s economy (GDP) and employed about 1.71 million Canadians from coast-to-coast.
Withnatural resources accounting for almost one fifth of Canada’s economy, it deserves far more credit than it receives. Resources are our main export, a major source of business investment and the motivation for a large amount of supply chain manufacturing. So it’s important we get these facts right.
Canada Action is passionate about engaging in non-partisan, respectful and informed discussions about our natural resources sector. We must ensure Canadians have the correct information available to them before making decisions on whether or not to support our world-class natural resource industry and associated activities like the construction of new pipelines, mines and mills.
If we don’t dispel misinformation against our resources, we are refusing to advocate for millions of Canadian jobs and the hundreds of billions in economic activity generated by the sector across the country. It would mean surrendering to a narrative that has been largely one-sided for more than a decade, one which at times has not been balanced or fact-based whatsoever.
Below are just a few examples of misinformation about Canada’s natural resource sector:
1) Bill Nye Says Mined Oilsands Span an Area the Size of Florida
Bill has repeated this misinformation many times over the years, painting a false picture by claiming a much worse environmental impact than is true for the oils sands operation. His omitting any information on reclamation activities and other stewardship initiatives clearly shows his bias.
Today, land disturbed by oil sands mining operations is about only 1,000 km2, or less than 1% of the size of Florida’s 170,000 km2. Nowhere in Bill’s sleek video production is any explanation that land disturbed by oil sands operations must be 100% reclaimed as is required by provincial and federal laws.
2) Greenpeace Admits Attacks on Resolute Forest Products “Opinion” and Not “Fact”
Back in 2017, Resolute Forest Products argued that Greenpeace had made multiple false statements about the environmental impact of the company’s forestry operations in Canada regarding climate change, the boreal forest, Indigenous people and the woodland caribou.
After making several attacks against Resolute for supposedly “destroying” boreal forests, Greenpeace then admitted it was stating an opinion about the logging activity, not a fact.
3) National Geographic Says the Oilsands is the World’s Most Destructive Operation
Stephen Leahy, an Ontario-based “international environmental journalist,” published a specious article in April, 2019. The piece referenced above was riddled with factual errors, misleading statements and omissions that advanced an incorrect and uninformed view of Canada’s oil sands industry and its impacts.
Somehow slipping through National Geographic’s code of ethics and standards, the faulty piece shocked many in the Canadian energy industry who are familiar with oil sands operators and their world-leading performance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.
4) Global Energy Monitor Says Canadian LNG Will Not Reduce Global Emissions
The Global Energy Monitor released a report in July of 2019 suggesting that fugitive methane emissions in upstream operations would harm the global environment if Canadian LNG projects were to proceed.
The report used data from U.S. fields with distinctly different geology versus fields in Canada to calculate fugitive emissions. The report also failed to take into account the considerable differences in regulatory measures between the two countries, and it used inaccurate data sets related to the amount of liquefaction capacity under construction in Canada.
Since its release, Canadian LNG replacing coal-fired power generation in China and the reduction of CO2 emissions as a result have been studied extensively in several independent reports. Despite using a variety of differing parameters and methodologies, these studies have all concluded that Canadian LNG is good for the global environment.
5) Environmental Group Publish Report Saying Majority of Oilsands is Foreign Owned and Canadians Do Not Benefit from the Industry
A report by three environmental organizations long-known for their opposition to natural resource projects in Canada suggests the oil sands is 70% owned by foreign entities and that, as a result, Canadians fail to benefit from the industry.
The report is full of omissions such as the $360 billion contribution of oil and gas to Canadian government revenues between 2000 and 2018, and the research uses old data from 2016 to come to a handful of its most important, hard-hitting – and false -- conclusions. It also cites the cost of reclaiming abandoned and orphaned wells in Alberta, a figure since debunked by the Alberta Energy Regulator.
The writers of the report also seem to ignore more recent statistics showing that foreign ownership of oil sands has dramatically dropped since 2017. We’re not sure why these deliberate omissions were made; more recent and up-to-date information was easily found within minutes of searching online.
Stand Up for Canada's Future!
Foreign nations with:
- less regard for human rights
- less regulatory transparency
- less environmental protections and performance
…are the ones that win when Canadians stand by as our world-class natural resource sector is painted in inaccurate and misleading ways.
If anti-development forces prevent Canada from producing the minerals, crude oil, lumber or natural gas that’s in such high demand across the globe, then other resource-rich nations with lesser performance standards than ours will step up to the plate and provide the world with the materials and products it needs now, and in the future.
We must continue to commit to accurate data, stand up to misinformation and stay vigilant in myth-busting those who refuse to engage in a fact-based and balanced discussion about our natural resource sector. If we don’t, then the implications for the well-being of millions of Canadians and their families could be devastating. Remember, our natural resource sector supports this country’s overall prosperity and our quality of life. It matters to all of us.
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