An open letter to Canada's Energy Ministers from Canadians for Affordable Energy, the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers & Businesses of Ontario, and Resource Works Society in advance of the 2017 Energy & Mines Ministers' Meeting on August 13-14 in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick.
A copy of the letter can be found here
August 11, 2017
The Honourable Jim Carr, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Natural Resources Canada
The Honourable Rick Doucet, M.L.A.
New Brunswick Minister of Energy and Resource Development
Our organizations are united in our belief that affordable energy fuels job creation and offers immeasurable benefits – each and every day – to Canadian families, businesses and our country’s quality of life. You are likely in agreement with us that keeping energy services affordable in Canada must be an ongoing public policy priority.
As you finalize preparations for the upcoming 2017 Energy & Mines Ministers’ Meeting on Clean Growth in New Brunswick, we believe it is important that discussions on government energy policies include a perspective from consumers and ratepayers. Environmental groups as well as large businesses often ignore consumer concerns when advocating in favour of policies they want governments to adopt.
What’s more, governments have generally neglected to discuss or even acknowledge how their policies could cause energy prices to needlessly, and in some cases dramatically, rise in Canada. It is important that the public and policymakers understand the link between government actions and outcomes.
High energy prices hurt Canadian families by stretching household budgets. Rising energy costs make running businesses more expensive and slow job growth because our economy is less competitive, especially in the natural resource and manufacturing sectors. This is particularly true with the United States going in a different direction than Canada by prioritizing jobs and growth.
We hope the perspective of consumers and ratepayers will be part of your deliberations this weekend in Saint Andrews, particularly since environmental and industry groups that will be at your summer meeting won’t necessarily prioritize the importance of affordable energy as a top consumer concern. Indeed, some of these groups could be outright hostile to the idea of keeping the energy that Canadians purchase affordable.
Affordable energy has been a key driver of Canada's economy over the course of our nation’s history. Our vast country is sparsely populated, has difficult geography, and severe seasonal weather conditions. Despite these challenging circumstances, Canada has become one of the world's most desirable and sought after places to live, raise a family, and start a business. None of this happened by accident.
Energy affordability has fueled our prosperity. It is a key reason why we have been successful as a nation. But today our economy is threatened by the rising cost of energy services. Jobs and investment are threatened at home or leaving our shores altogether. Opportunities are passing us by. The voices of First Nations and rural communities have been marginalized. Families are hurting.
Canada has been blessed as a country with a rich bounty of natural resources that has enabled us to thrive. Governments should embrace this advantage and not mirror the public policy of nations that lack abundant natural resources.
Keeping energy services affordable must be an ongoing public policy priority at all levels of government. We are committed to speaking out on this issue so there is an informed debate and the interests of all Canadians are heard.
President, Canadians for Affordable Energy
Founder, Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Ontario
Executive Director, Resource Works Society
copy: Provincial and territorial premiers
Provincial and territorial energy ministers
About Canadians for Affordable Energy, The Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers of Ontario, and Resource Works Society:
Canadians for Affordable Energy was established in early 2017 and has already attracted over 20,000 followers to its Facebook page. As well, its network of writers has appeared in publications across Canada, including the National Post, Globe & Mail and Maclean’s. Its mandate is to promote the benefits of affordable energy by informing Canadians about it, advancing policies that encourage it, and building a national constituency to support it.
The Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers & Businesses of Ontario is a grassroots coalition of small and medium-sized businesses and business associations working to preserve Ontario’s manufacturing sector in the face of rising energy costs and policies which are detrimental to business. The coalition represents thousands of jobs across Ontario.
Resource Works Society explores the long-term economic future of British Columbia as a place that depends on the responsible development, extraction and transportation of the province's resources. It demonstrates how responsible development of British Columbia's resources creates jobs and incomes throughout the province, both directly and indirectly, while maintaining a clean and healthy environment.