counterpoint.jpgPoint:Counterpoint brings solid research to the burning questions of the day. In this feature, we are tackling some of the misconceptions often heard about Canadian natural resources. Then we provide correct information. So next time you run into misinformation, you'll have this resource to turn to.

Point: Canada’s oil sands are dirty and we should “leave them in the ground”.

All petroleum products must be handled and used with care, no matter what country they come from.


The fact is the US has oil that is far dirtier, though for some reason we do not see the American environmental movement pointing this out. The Southern Company, a large US utility, has three coal plants that together generate more GHGs than the entire Canadian oilsands. The fact is, our oilsands are a very small part of the global energy diet and any middle-of-the-road Canadian has reason to be proud of them. Through innovation, we will continue to improve. 

Point: The “high-tech” economy has eclipsed natural resources in British Columbia, and that’s a good thing.

It is a tantalizing storyline but utterly without foundation. 


The fact is, the resource industry remains much larger than high tech, with at least 120,000 employees to the “over 84,000 people” said to be in high tech. But even that is missing the true point, which is that resources and high tech are really one and the same. British Columbia's Technology Minister Amrik Virk hit the nail on the head in this Times Colonist report: “This is not an either/or equation — this is a symbiotic relationship. It’s with tech that we have a cleaner, greener, more effective, more efficient natural-resources sector.” 

Point: British Columbia is not a leader in fighting climate change.

It's a topic of major concern - and why shouldn't it be?


BC was the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce a broad-based, revenue-neutral, carbon tax. BC’s electricity supply is 98-per-cent clean renewable. The Site C project will allow BC to retain its leadership in this area. BC’s clean economy provides 68,200 jobs and contributes $6.3 billion to the economy.

POINT: The global climate deal signed in Paris in 2015 says the world has to stop using petroleum.

For energy-exporting nations like Canada, understanding a text has never been more important. 


Untrue. In fact, there is no mention of oil, gas or coal in the agreement signed by 196 nations. The crucial section of the agreement is Article 2, which makes clear that the real focus is on managing poverty, adapting to change, and addressing the root of the problem. Success toward a low-carbon economy means respect and collaboration.