Who decides our energy future?

At a conference in Ottawa this week, Resource Works joined a conversation about the ability of Canada to attract investment and foster innovation.

post-image.jpgPublic confidence in Canada’s natural resource decision systems is under stress, with some saying approval processes for energy projects in particular have become dysfunctional. The nation’s ability to manage the transformation to a much lower carbon energy economy is also at stake. If public confidence continues to decline, we will all lose out.

There is hope, however. In a gathering at the University of Ottawa, Resource Works executive director Stewart Muir joined a discussion focused on how municipal and indigenous decision makers and processes factor into energy decisions. The biggest question was “who decides”. All paths led back to the question of how citizens engage in decision processes, and how society's needs can be served in future.

A diverse range of thinkers from across Canada brought their analyses to the table. In the end, the group tabled some specific priorities that will be part of what comes next in the Positive Energy research project. If there was a sense of impatience that the nation’s energy future hangs in the balance, there was also cautious optimism that a breakthrough is close.

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