In a speech in Davos this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau distanced Canada from its natural resource economy (i.e. oil and gas), and instead played up its economic diversity and its technology brainpower as part of his efforts to “rebrand” the country.
“My predecessor wanted you to know Canada for its resources,” Trudeau said in his keynote address at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps. “Well I want you to know Canada for its resourcefulness. Our natural resources are substantial and they will always be a basis of the Canadian economy, but Canadians also know … that growth and prosperity is not just a matter of what lies under our feet, but what lies between our ears.”
Trudeau’s ‘Sunny-Ways’ marketing may have amused the Davos elites, but it’s cold comfort to the estimated 100,000 people back home who lost their direct and indirect oil and gas jobs over the past year, or their homes and businesses, or their life savings.
For the legions of scientists who work in the energy sector, it’s downright insulting. Trudeau should re-acquaint himself with the never-more-relevant quote by petroleum geologist Wallace E. Pratt that oil “is first found in the minds of men.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is showing little resourcefulness of his own.
Rather than doing what’s in his power to do to improve market access for oil, which would alleviate the pain felt in Alberta and Saskatchewan from the oil price collapse, Trudeau’s solution is to marginalize the energy sector and look elsewhere.
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