Have we forgotten who we are?

Canada can reclaim natural resource leadership by remembering what it is, writes Margareta Dovgal in this update for Resource Works.

Margareta Dovgal, managing director of Resource Works, speaks at a recent event.

There's a lot happening in the natural resources world these days.

British Columbia and Canada continue to face challenges and opportunities, from building shared sources of prosperity to lowering emissions and developing collaborative relationships with Indigenous peoples. In this context, it's important to take a step back and consider how we got here and what we can do moving forward.

From the persisting war in Ukraine and famine in Sri Lanka to the looming winter of discontent in Europe and industrial energy shortages in parts of the developing world, current events offer lessons we can't afford to ignore.

In Canada, domestic oil and gas producers are awaiting the imposition of the clean fuel standard and an emissions cap. Agricultural farmers are anticipating a forced reduction in the amount of fertilizer they can use. Salmon farmers in BC are being forced out of business. Forests are being removed from the tree-harvesting land base, forcing mills to shutter and threatening thousands of jobs. Inflation is soaring and public services are falling apart as critical infrastructure crumbles.

We've lost sight of balance. We've also forgotten who we are as a province and as a country. Canada is the world's natural resource breadbasket. We're a trading nation spanning from the Pacific to the Atlantic and the envy of millions across the globe. Others dream of opportunity; we see it neglected before our eyes.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way.

The world is changing. Those who navigate shifting currents of principled policies and national economic necessities recognize that environmental, Indigenous and economic rights are not mutually exclusive. 

When it comes to these matters, Canada can truly lead the world. In many ways, we already are.

A new report on which we've recently written discovered that over half of the minerals needed for widespread electrification are found on Indigenous people's territories. It's the new gold rush, and governments and companies should ask themselves serious questions about how to build successful partnerships with Indigenous peoples. It's something BC is doing tremendously well, offering lessons for other jurisdictions.

Recently, our CEO Stewart Muir testified to Canada's Parliamentary Select Standing Committee on Natural Resources. It was an important opportunity to invite members of Parliament to consider the role of natural gas in meeting emissions reduction targets and to take a hint from FIFA and ask how Qatar generated all its wealth in the first place.

As we move forward, it's essential that we chart a collaborative path forward that incorporates a range of solutions, including mining and natural gas, in order to achieve our emissions reduction goals. With the right policies and incentives, Canada can truly lead the world in Indigenous rights, emissions reduction and natural resource development.

Margareta Dovgal is the managing director at Resource Works. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn for more hot takes on natural resources and making the world a better, more secure and prosperous place.

Do you like this?