The Myth of the Fossil Fuel Economy

The federal government subsidizes the fossil fuel industry by over $1.5 billion per year, not including advertising and PR the government does to promote. This is too much public money for wealthy corporations who are in fact small employers in a mature industry. 

In Canada, direct employment in green energy increased nationwide by 37% in the last five years. Over 23,700 jobs were created in clean energy manufacturing, power production, energy efficiency, and biofuels. This outnumbers the 22,340 people working in the oilsands. Big oil in Canada claims that oil sands development will increase direct and indirect jobs from 75,000 today to 905,000 over the next 20 years; however, that translates to 36,000 new jobs per year and only 12,000 direct new jobs, mainly in Alberta. The reality is that other sectors such as healthcare, education, retail, IT, hospitality, and financial sectors will continue to be much more significant job creators. 

Canadians are faced with a critical choice - continue along the short-lived, fossil-fueled energy path or seize the day and move into the age of clean energy. By diverting money and time to bolster the carbon economy of the past, we are missing significant opportunities in the 21st century economy. Why can't we be a clean energy super power? 

Our understanding of the costs, both economic and environmental, of fossil fuel extraction and use is growing. 

At the same time, support for the technical and economic feasibility of conversion to renewable energy infrastructure is increasing. A 2015 report Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars by scientists across Canada concludes that we can meet our energy needs without destroying our economy.

The time is now. Vote for a positive vision of the future - pledge your vote to Elizabeth May, a long-time environmental activist with a superlative track record for action.

Canadians can no longer accept a federal government that cynically provided $130 million from the federal Green Infrastructure Fund to support projects such as the Northwest Transmission Line (NTL). At a total cost of  $37,000 per resident of the Tahltan community of Iskut, purportedly to stop their dependence on diesel-generated power, the NTL appears to be actually intended to support the development of an open pit coal mine and other mining operations in northwest BC. 

The cost of investing scarce tax dollars into infrastructure for non-renewable resource extraction is profound. The pretence that pipeline development (e.g., Keystone XL, Kinder Morgan, etc.) has minimal greenhouse gas implications ignores reality. Allocation of scarce tax dollars to promote and build infrastructure for the ‘eggs-in-one basket’ resource extraction-based economy is simply failed leadership. Fortunately, the provinces aren’t waiting for Ottawa - the premiers aim to deliver a Canadian Energy Strategy in summer 2015. Federally, we can and must do better. 

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