Checking the Facts and Dispelling Misinformation on Canada’s Natural Resources
Canadians must take a stand against misinformation that seeks to discredit our world-class natural resources sector. These industries – forestry, mining, energy, agriculture – are major wealth generators and job creators, together accounting for nearly a quarter of Canada’s economy and employing roughly 4 million people from coast-to-coast-to-coast . They also make up more than half of our nation’s yearly exports .
In other words, a healthy natural resources sector means a more prosperous Canada, one that is better equipped to take care of the needs of Canadians and Indigenous peoples, as well as those of our closest allies and trade partners abroad.
When Canada is stronger, the world is a better place.
Hence, we must get the facts right on our natural resource industries and share the good news on how they are world-class in reducing environmental impacts associated with the extraction and production of oil, natural gas, lumber, food, minerals, metals, etc.
Let's Have Balanced, Fact-Based, Honest Discussions
Canada Action is passionate about creating non-partisan, respectful and informed discussions about our natural resources sector. We must do our best to ensure Canadians have the correct information and understand why it is critical to support these industries and associated activities like the construction of new mills, mines and pipelines.
Suppose we do not dispel misinformation and half-truths created by anti-Canadian development activists. In that case, we are simply not doing our job to advocate for the millions of Canadian workers who rely on these sectors to provide for their families. 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, fact-based or honest whatsoever.
Below are a few examples of misinformation about Canada’s natural resource sector. Also see:
- MYTH: Canadian Oil Sands Net Zero Commitments Nothing But "Hot Air"
- Top 3 Myths About LNG Projects in British Columbia
- 3 Pragmatic Questions for Anti-Canadian Energy Activists
F1 driver says oil sands is “Canada’s climate crime”
Sebastian Vettel joins the long list of foreign celebrities who use their influence to peddle false narratives about Canada’s world-class natural resource sectors.
The Aston Martin race car driver showed up to Montreal’s F1 Canadian Grand Prix 2022 with a t-shirt that read “stop mining tar sands” and “Canada’s climate crime” in protest of our oil sands sector.
Vettel was subsequently booed by the crowd during the drivers’ parade, wearing a helmet with anti-oil sands imagery and slogans. But one could not help to notice his main sponsor’s logo on the helmet --- the world’s second largest oil producer Saudi Aramco.
Activists say Indigenous communities do not support energy projects
Anti-Canadian energy activists want the public to believe that First Nations communities do not support the responsible development of natural resources on their lands. However, that is just not true.
Many Indigenous groups are now looking to responsible resource development as a means of economic reconciliation and independence from Canadian governments. And let's give huge credit to these groups for standing up and speaking out against environmental activists and the damage they cause to remote Indigenous communities in Canada.
Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG are two Indigenous-led energy projects now underway in British Columbia, both set to export natural gas to countries abroad by the late 2020s.
Coastal GasLink, the pipeline to supply LNG Canada and Cedar LNG, is partially owned by several First Nations along its route. Additionally, the elected chiefs of 20 out of 20 First Nations communities along its route have benefit agreements with the project and have shown their support in one way or another.
The “Science Guy” suggests mined oil sands span an area the size of Florida
Bill Nye the “Science Guy” has repeated false facts about Canada’s oil sands many times over the years, painting a false picture by claiming that the area of disturbed mining area is much bigger than in reality. That’s not very scientific of him.
Today, land disturbed by oil sands mining operations is about only 1,000 square kilometres (km2), or less than 1% of the size of Florida’s 170,000 km2. Nowhere in Bill’s sleek video production is any hint that land disturbed by oil sands operations must be 100% reclaimed as required by provincial and federal laws.
Greenpeace admits attack on forestry company “opinion” and not “fact”
A few years back, Resolute Forest Products argued that Greenpeace had made multiple false statements about the environmental impact of the company’s forestry operations in Canada concerning climate change, the boreal forest, Indigenous People and the woodland caribou.
After making several attacks against Resolute for supposedly “destroying” boreal forests, Greenpeace eventually admitted it was stating an opinion about the logging activity, not a fact.
National Geographic says the oil sands 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 stunned 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.
NGO uses wrong data to conclude that Canadian LNG will not reduce global emissions
The Global Energy Monitor released a report in July 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, which have distinctly different geology versus fields in Canada, to calculate fugitive emissions. The report also failed to consider the differences in regulatory measures between the two countries, and it used inaccurate data sets to do with 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 has been studied extensively by various groups of academia. Despite using various parameters and methodologies, these studies have all concluded that Canadian LNG is good for the global environment.
Environmental group says majority of Canadian oil sands is foreign, Canadians do not benefit from industry
A report by three environmental organizations known for their long-standing 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 doesn’t mention the countless jobs supported by the industry. It also 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 are 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 countries with less protections for human rights and the environment are the winners when Canadians stand by as our world-class natural resources sector is painted in inaccurate and misleading ways.
Suppose anti-development forces prevent Canada from producing the minerals, metals, oil, lumber and natural gas the world needs. In that case, other resource-rich nations with less governmental transparency and environmental protections will step up to the plate.
We must commit to balanced, fact-based, and non-partisan discussions on our world-class natural resource sectors. If we don’t, the implications on the well-being of millions of Canadians and their families could be devastating.
Remember, the natural resources sector supports our country’s overall prosperity and quality of life --- having a healthy and prosperous industry should matter to all of us.
1. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada An overview. Retrieved from https://agriculture.canada.ca/en/sector/overview. Date accessed: August 2023
2. Natural Resources Canada. (2022). Key Facts & Figures. Retrieved from https://natural-resources.canada.ca/nrcan/files/emmc/pdf/NRCan_Key_Facts_Figures_Update_EN-2022.pdf. Date accessed: August 2023
3. Fraser Institute. (n.d.). Natural resources comprise more than half of Canada exports, compared to 1 percent for clean tech. Retrieved from https://www.fraserinstitute.org/article/natural-resources-comprise-more-than-half-of-canadas-exports-compared-to-1-percent-clean-tech. Date accessed: August 2023
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