Myth Busting

Checking the Facts and Dispelling Misinformation Regarding Canada’s Natural Resources

global oil demand is growing poster pro resource rally

Canadians must take a stand against misinformation that seeks to discredit our natural resource sector as the major wealth generator, job creator and environmental leader it is. In 2018, the sector accounted for approximately 17% of Canada’s economy (GDP) and employed about 1.71 million Canadians from coast-to-coast.

With the natural resources accounting for almost one fifth of Canada’s economy, we must give this sector the credit and respect it deserves. Resources are our main export, a major source of business investment and are also responsible 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.

Muth Busting Misinformation on Canada's Natural Resource Sector

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 Nye "The Science Guy" made a video in 2015 suggesting that Canada’s mined oil sands are almost the size of Florida.

Bill has repeated such misinformation many times over the years, painting a false picture of an operation with a much worse environmental impact than in reality - not to mention the omissions in regards to reclamation activities and other green initiatives.

Today, land disturbed by mining operations is about only 1,000 km2, or less than 1% of the size of Florida’s 170,000 km2. Bill left out of his sleek video production that any land disturbed by oil sands operations must be 100% reclaimed as per required by provincial and federal laws.

2) Greenpeace Admits Attacks on Resolute Forest Products “Opinion” and Not “Fact”

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 in regards to climate change, the boreal forest, Indigenous people and the woodland caribou.

After several attacks against Resolute for supposedly “destroying” boreal forests, Greenpeace admitted that 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 the article above in April of 2019 which is riddled with factual errors, misleading statements and omissions that suit an incorrect and uninformed view of Canada’s oil sands industry and its impacts.

This article somehow passed through National Geographic’s code of ethics, which was shocking to many in the Canadian energy industry who are familiar with oil sands operators and their world-class leadership and 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, and also did not take into account the considerable differences in regulatory measures between the two countries. It also 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 has 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 Canadians have nothing to benefit from the industry as a result.

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 uses old data from 2016 to come to a handful of its most important and hard-hitting conclusions. It also cites the cost of reclaiming abandoned and orphaned wells in Alberta, a figure which has since been 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!I love Canadian oil and gas students

Foreign nations with:

  • less regard for human rights
  • less regulatory transparency 
  • less environmental protections and performance

…are the ones that win when Canadians let our world-class natural resource sector be painted in inaccurate and misleading ways. 

If Canada does not produce the minerals, crude oil, lumber or natural gas in high demand across the globe, other resource-rich nations 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 stand up to misinformation and be 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, the implications on the well-being of millions of Canadians and their families could be devastating, not to mention on our nation's overall prosperity and quality of life as well which are both propped up by our resource sector.

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