Canada’s prosperity built on network of railways, ports — and pipelines – by Gary Leach (Globe and Mail – October 14, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Gary Leach is president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada.

The history of Canada is a story of nation-building across one of the world’s most difficult and challenging landscapes.

Our communities are separated by great distances and a sometimes-hostile natural environment. Our geography has endowed us, as a nation, with great natural resource wealth. But it also presents us with vexing challenges.

The great national transportation and infrastructure projects of the 19th and 20th centuries – our railways, highways, seaways, communications networks and pipelines – linked a string of remote and isolated communities and laid the foundation for one of the world’s most prosperous and respected countries. We were a nation that got things done. But today, much of that visionary infrastructure might never be built.

Ports are our lifelines to the world. Canada’s national prosperity is built on access to global markets, which maximizes the wealth we obtain from developing our abundant resources. Our transportation networks and seaports have been built to benefit all Canadians – that’s what being part of a successful trading nation with access to world markets is all about.

Canada’s national infrastructure was built by generations of Canadians who understood this. The tradeoffs and compromises that allowed this infrastructure to be built were critical parts of the spadework of Confederation. Today, we are still a resource nation – but at times, a reluctant one.

Almost one million Canadians work in the resource sector, and almost as many again work in industries supporting it. The sector accounts for half of our exports – oil and gas alone account for more than a fifth.

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