I spent a portion of my vacation this summer in the UK. For two weeks I scoured the British media in search of opinions or updates on any oil related stories that were Canadian-based.
The Times in London is considered slightly right of centre, so I chose to read it mostly because there was a good chance that the reporting would be balanced. I read every page for the full two weeks.
What I found was not, “Canada, eh?!” But, “Canada, huh?!”
The results of my reading and searching for any Canadian stories were politically and optically sobering as there was absolutely zero mention of a single Canadian issue of any kind, let alone our heart-stopping pipeline debates, um, I mean… demonstrations.
It all makes me wonder if the lack of leadership on the various questions surrounding energy supply in general, and fossil fuels, namely crude oil in particular, in this country is a happenstance that the rest of the world watches with doe-eyed anticipation. Or are Canadians’ views being blocked because of all of the political trees in the way? To get perhaps a clearer view of our energy based metaphorical foliage, I chose to take a look at this from another, more distant geographical perspective, just to see if we in Canada are losing ours. One would think that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the global king of the selfie stick, would at least show up below the fold in at least one UK newspaper.
Our prime minister didn’t even make the Times’s unofficial version of the G-20 group photo op!
In fact, the only sustained mention of anything about the North American former colonies was the ongoing fascination with the frightening characters running for President of the US of A.
But then again, is energy as big a deal in the UK and continental Europe as it is in Canada? Diesel is by far the fuel of choice there. If you want a gasoline powered automatic transmission car rental they have to order it well in advance for you. The pump price of diesel and gasoline remained unchanged at CAD 1.70/litre for two weeks. We drove 1,600 kms and I did not see one electric powered vehicle, nor did I hear mention of anything closely related to a carbon tax.
What is still grabbing the headlines and populist debate over the pond is the Brexit vote to leave the EU. The question on the minds of the ‘yeahers’ and ‘nayers’ to leave the UK is still the future of the economy and their jobs. Perhaps they have it right. They accept diesel and gasoline prices as the cost of putting food on the table, not the subject of a supper table debate. All components of energy are essential to everybody’s normal daily living.
In Canada, we need to wake up and realize we are not an essential cog in the global energy gear box, nor do we even have a poster in the greenhouse gases (GHG) Most Wanted bulletins!
We do, however make the comic sections of a lot of UK newspapers with our decision making processes on the approval (or not), of pipelines that feed the economy and those sitting at the supper table.
Food for thought, not a food fight.
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