Indigenous communities across the country have a growing capacity to deliver energy projects that deliver clean, affordable and reliable power to their communities, and into the grid, thus generating jobs and revenue.
Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) is the national platform for Indigenous communities to promote collaborative frameworks for renewable energy, energy efficiency, advanced energy systems and green energy infrastructure. ICE has cross-Canada relationships amongst Indigenous communities, along with a demonstrated track record of accomplishment in capacity-building, project/organizational collaboration, and clean energy cooperation.
Initiatives, such as the Indigenous Energy Across Canada Compendium demonstrates how the relationships have evolved in the last decade between industry, and the Indigenous People in Canada.
Indigenous communities are already major participants and owners of clean energy projects and businesses comprised of 184 medium-large scale projects in hydro, wind, solar, or biomass, and over 2,300 small renewable energy projects. Projects owned, or co-owned, by Indigenous communities, or with a defined financial benefit agreement represent a total of 18% of Canada’s electricity generating capacity, which is approximately one of sixth of the electrons consumed in Canada.
While the energy sector is broad and shifting towards more innovation in energy transition, there is still much to do in terms of sharing opportunities and building capacity for Indigenous communities. Capacity building programs include the award winning 20/20 Catalysts Program, which has an alumni of 82 Catalysts and has empowered First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities to drive forward clean energy projects and initiatives in their communities. Working collaboratively with the guidance of Indigenous leaders and clean energy practitioners from across the country, catalysts gain the skills and tools needed to maximize the social and economic benefits communities gain through clean energy initiatives. A result of ongoing dialogue with communities the need to act on housing and community energy efficiency to make energy more affordable, improve health conditions, and establish new and ongoing jobs. ICE has responded to this by creating a new program Bringing it Home. (BiH) The premise of BiH is that ‘Healthy Energy Living’ in Indigenous communities can be unlocked through synergy between clean energy and sustainable investment to ensure that homes: a) last longer, b) are more durable and healthier, and c) are cheaper to operate over the short and longer term.
Platforms such as the icenet.work allow the growing community of Indigenous clean energy leaders, to further collaborate with clean energy industry and governments on clean energy projects, access to financial capital for clean energy infrastructure, and share project and business experiences internationally.
Indigenous inclusion in Canada’s growing clean energy, and clean growth economy is a force for change, and partnering with First Nations, Inuit and Métis is the way forward.
By Terri Lynn Morrison, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Communications, Indigenous Clean Energy
Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.
Government policies diminish Alberta in eyes of investors
From the Fraser Institute
Canada’s economy has stagnated, with a “mild to moderate” recession expected this year. Alberta can help Canada through this economic growth crisis by reaping the benefits of a strong commodity market. But for this to happen, the federal and provincial governments must eliminate damaging policies that make Alberta a less attractive place to invest.
Every year, the Fraser Institute surveys senior executives in the oil and gas industry to determine what jurisdictions in Canada and the United States are attractive—or unattractive—to investment based on policy factors. According to the latest results, red tape and high taxes are dampening the investment climate in the province’s energy sector.
Consider the difference between Alberta and two large U.S. energy jurisdictions—Wyoming and Texas. According to the survey, oil and gas investors are particularly wary of environmental regulations in Alberta with 50 per cent of survey respondents indicating that “stability, consistency and timeliness of environmental regulatory process” scared away investment compared to 14 per cent in Wyoming and only 11 per cent in Texas.
Investors also suggest that the U.S. regulatory environment offers greater certainty and predictability compared to Alberta. For example, 42 per cent of respondents indicated that “uncertainty regarding the administration, interpretation, stability, or enforcement of existing regulations” is a deterrent to investment in Alberta, compared to only 9 per cent in Wyoming and 13 per cent in Texas. Similarly, 43 per cent of respondents indicated that the cost of regulatory compliance was a deterrent to investment in Alberta compared to just 9 per cent for Wyoming and 19 per cent for Texas.
And there’s more—41 per cent of respondents for Alberta indicated that taxation deters investment compared to only 21 per cent for Wyoming and 14 per cent for Texas. Overall, Wyoming was more attractive than Alberta in 14 out of 16 policy factors assessed by the survey and Texas was more attractive in 11 out of 16.
Indeed, Canadian provinces are generally less attractive for oil and gas investment compared to U.S. states. This should come as no surprise—Trudeau government policies have created Canada’s poor investment climate. Consider federal Bill C-69, which imposes complex, uncertain and onerous review requirements on major energy projects. While this bill was declared unconstitutional, uncertainty remains until new legislation is introduced. During the COP28 conference in Dubai last December, the Trudeau government also announced its draft framework to cap oil and gas sector greenhouse gas emissions, adding uncertainty for investors due to the lack of details. These are just a few of the major regulations imposed on the energy industry in recent years.
As a result of these uncertain and onerous regulations, the energy sector has struggled to complete projects and reach markets overseas. Not surprisingly, capital investment in Alberta’s oil and gas sector plummeted from $58.1 billion (in 2014) to $26.0 billion in 2023.
The oil and gas sector is one of the country’s largest industries with a major influence on economic growth. Alberta can play a key role in helping Canada overcome the current economic challenges but the federal and provincial governments must pay attention to investor concerns and establish a more competitive regulatory and fiscal environment to facilitate investment in the province’s energy sector—for the benefit of all Canadians.
Proposed legislation seeks to suppress speech about climate change and fossil fuels
NDP MP Charlie Angus
From the Fraser Institute
Canada is a constitutional parliamentary democracy where differences of opinion are to be resolved through elections, which people are persuaded by words and ideas, not threats of violence. Stripping people of the right to express themselves freely will introduce violence into the democratic process, disenfranchising some people and disenchanting others.
It’s rare, in today’s political world, for someone in power to whip off the velvet glove and show the iron fist beneath. It’s a bit gauche for our times. But that’s what happened recently when federal NDP natural resources critic Charlie Angus tabled a member’s bill that would clap anyone who says negative things about the government’s fossil-fuel-phobia into the pokey—and rob them on the way to jail. We’re not talking about a slap on the wrist, but about million-dollar fines and years in jail for simply expressing a positive thought about fossil fuels. So much for the fundamental freedom of expression in Canada.
Angus’ Bill C-372 would fine and jail people for the most innocuous of speech relating to climate change or fossil fuels. Even daring to speak the obvious truths such as “natural gas is less polluting than coal” could land you in jail for one year and cost you $750,000. If you produce fossil fuels and are found guilty of “false promotion,” you’d face two years in jail and a $1.5 million fine.
Enacting such speech restrictions would be destructive of the fabric of Canadian society, and even though this member’s bill (like most) will go nowhere, it should trouble Canadians that we’ve reached a level of political discourse where members of Parliament feel they can blatantly propose stripping Canadians of their freedom of expression, obviously convinced they’ll not pay a price it.
Specifically, Bill-372 and its pernicious idea of speech control would cause harm to two major elements of Canadian civilization—our democracy, which depends on the free exchange of ideas as Canada elects its leaders, and our mixed-market economic system where actors in the market require a free flow of information to make informed decisions that can produce positive economic outcomes and economic growth.
Let’s start with that democracy thing. Canada is a constitutional parliamentary democracy where differences of opinion are to be resolved through elections, which people are persuaded by words and ideas, not threats of violence. Stripping people of the right to express themselves freely will introduce violence into the democratic process, disenfranchising some people and disenchanting others. Canada already has to work hard to promote engagement by the public in the political process. Things like Bill C-372 would not make this easier. A less politically engaged public cedes ever more power to entrenched politicians and political activists, and leaves power in the hands of smaller minorities with extreme enough views who think opposing ideas must be suppressed with force.
Regarding free speech, consider this. Without a robust mixed-market economy, the voluntary exchange which leads to economic activity does not happen. Productivity declines and scarcity, the eternal scourge of humanity, resurges and people suffer. Freedom of expression is central to the operation of market economies. People must be free to share information about the value of things (or lack thereof) for decisions to be made, for prices to manifest, and for markets to function effectively. Without open communication in markets, diversity of goods and services will diminish as some goods and services won’t be promoted or defended while others are freely to advertised.
Bill C-372 should and likely will die an ignominious death in Parliament, but all politicians of all parties should denounce it for what it is—an attempt by government to suppress speech. Unlikely to happen, but one can always hope for sanity to prevail.