Canada has enormous natural wealth, from huge energy reserves to massive tracts of forest and an abundance of minerals and metals. For generations, the development of natural resources has brought opportunity, jobs and growth across our country.
Today, there is a project to build a pipeline that will safely transport oil resources from the west to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick. That project is Energy East. It’s a project by Canadians, for Canadians, that will reduce Canada’s dependence on oil imports and displace the equivalent of over 1,500 rail cars that travel the same route each day.
Here are four reasons Canadians can be proud of this important project:
In 2014, the energy sector directly and indirectly employed nearly one million people. That’s one in every 20 jobs in Canada, and even though the recent drop in oil prices has led some energy companies to temporarily reduce their workforce, the sector remains one of the largest employers in the country. (Check: 10 key facts on Canada’s energy sector, Natural Resources Canada)
Energy East alone will support more than 14,000 direct and indirect jobs annually during its design and construction phases. This means employment opportunities for welders, truck drivers, crane operators, engineers, and environmental specialists as well as other spin-off benefits for local restaurants, hardware stores or consultants who will also indirectly benefit from the project.
2. Economic growth
The impacts of developing natural resources, or transporting them, go well beyond the forest, farm, rig or mine. Natural resources drive demand for products and services in many other sectors of the Canadian economy, such as transportation, finance or science.
Our natural resources generate taxes – $10 billion for Energy East alone during its construction and first 20 years of operations – for all levels of government. This means less money from taxpayers for things like schools, roads and hospitals. There is a straight line between the development of Canada’s natural resources and the standard of living we enjoy each day.
3. Environmental stewardship
Every day, refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick import hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil from countries such as Nigeria, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia or Algeria. This not only means billions of dollars leaving Canada to fund foreign economies, but also that we have no oversight on how this oil is produced or transported.
Canada has one of the toughest regulatory systems in the world, ensuring that every energy project is developed following strict environmental and safety standards. This is the case for Energy East too. We have filed thousands of pages as part of our permit application, detailing the measures we will take to ensure the pipeline’s safety and reduce any impact on the environment. As a company, we are dedicated to sustainable development, and have been recognized for our efforts. (Read: our sustainability report).
4. Energy security
Canada is in an enviable position. It’s better for a country to have resources than not to have them. And even when oil prices are falling, as they have been recently, our resources represent a store of value and a source of future riches for all Canadians.
Building Energy East will reduce the need for higher-priced foreign oil imports and it will help make our refineries competitive again. It will also allow our country to get better prices for its resources, sustaining more jobs and creating more wealth for our country.
Natural resources bring opportunities. Over the years, Canadians have used those opportunities to build a strong economy. In a safe and responsible way, Energy East can help support environmental stewardship, contribute to the economy and preserve Canada’s advantage in a competitive global market.