Partisan considerations aside, the last federal election showed that when it came to priorities, Canadians ranked affordability very, very high. The ability to pay for and otherwise meet our personal needs or obligations is a priority as we budget to attain what it takes to live, flourish and prosper.
At any time, the cost of living and the challenge to make ends meet is difficult – but it is even more the case as government action makes the burden harder to bear. And this action seems most aggressive in respect to the cost of energy.
There is a very loud national debate about the energy – environment dynamic. We have perhaps the highest environmental standards in the world – certainly one of the most open and transparent regulatory regimes – yet still extremists and their government allies demand more. Yet all involved seem oblivious to the significant effects all this has on Canadians’ pocketbooks and their standard of living. From enabling a flourishing economy, to attracting investments, to job creation and revenues for governments, to the day to day accounting in the pocketbooks of Canadians, our way of life has been bolstered by energy affordability, itself a consequence of world-class leadership in the responsible and innovative development and use of our natural resources. It is that affordability which rests at the core of our prosperity and it has made our quality of life much, much better.
But it is threatened. Be it the (many) so-called carbon taxes imposed provincially and federally, the regulatory and administrative burdens on new infrastructure builds, or the onerous standards imposed on our resource extraction and use, political actors of all stripes are making costs higher.
Canadians for Affordable Energy has consistently pointed out, in a series of articles and reports since its launch in 2017, the increasing cost of the many interventionist actions by governments and how those costs are hurting Canadians and our national competitiveness. I am delighted to be taking on the task of continuing this work in my new capacity as President of CAE.
As a former politician, I know how easy it is for political elites and their acolytes to impose burdens on taxpayers. But I also know that when constituents understand the issues and stand up and defend their interests, these elites have to take notice. I intend to engage with the constituents who care about energy affordability – in other words the vast majority of Canadians - in an effort to remind the elites that they can’t take their constituents for granted.
Canadians need a strong voice to be vigilant in defence of their interests underscoring the importance that affordable energy plays in our everyday lives and prosperity.
Canadians for Affordable Energy will endeavour to be that voice. We intend to be at the forefront of discussions to encourage pragmatic policies that help maintain and improve the affordability of energy for all – to help all Canadians prosper, and to help our country grow.