Over the past 10 years, the dialogue about future economic prosperity for Canada has been fundamentally altered with the introduction of climate change scenarios, which demand the reduction of the use of carbon-based fuels globally. This dialogue has changed the way citizens view the roles of governments, regulators, private industry, and other stakeholders. In many ways it has been polarizing and created dissension among the various stakeholder groups. Attempts have been made in good faith to change the discussion or engage stakeholders, but with limited success.
The Canadian economy has been buffeted by various factors both domestic and international during those years, and the result is the energy sector has been operating in an uncertain policy framework. Given the important role energy, in all its forms, plays directly and indirectly in Canada’s economy, as well as the impact that it has on the environment and society as a whole, Canada needs a responsible, well-informed dialogue on the range of issues flowing from our energy sector as the global economy transitions to a lower-carbon future. The concept of a low-carbon growth economy centre for Canada recognizes that such a global shift is underway and that our economy needs to proceed in the context of this longer term, multigenerational transformation.
The Conference Board of Canada believes that a collaborative approach, involving multiple stakeholders across the full spectrum of the energy industry, all levels of government, environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs), Aboriginal peoples, and citizens, can contribute to creating a national consensus that balances economic prosperity with environmental sustainability and doing so at a reasonable pace. Such an approach is better able to bring together all those impacted by these issues, so that the Canadian energy sector is able to continue to contribute to innovation; continue to contribute to knowledge industries and the Canadian economy; to protect the environment; and to respect the rights of Aboriginal peoples and local communities.
The goal of the Centre on the Low-Carbon Growth Economy is to create an effective, efficient and fair economy in Canada. To do so, the Centre will produce an actionable road map of recommendations for all levels of government, the economy and all the key stakeholders to frame the transition energy journey and help move energy forward at a reasonable pace without sacrificing the environmental and social well-being of Canadians. Doing this successfully will concurrently promote innovation, technology development, our knowledge industries, and will support continued growth of an environmentally sustainable economy.