Episode 1 with the Honourable Joe Oliver ‒ Developing Canada’s Energy Sector

Joe Oliver was elected to the House of Commons in May 2011. At the time of this interview, he was Minister of Natural Resources. He has since been appointed Minister of Finance. Prior to his election to Parliament, Mr. Oliver had a career in the investment banking industry. He began his career at Merrill Lynch, and was eventually appointed President and CEO of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada.


Canada has been blessed with abundant natural resources, including substantial energy resources. According to the Honourable Joe Oliver, who was Minister of Natural Resources when this wide-ranging interview was filmed in the summer of 2013, we need to be environmentally and socially responsible in developing these natural endowments, but we do need to develop them if they are to be of benefit to us.

One critical way of doing this is to build the infrastructure needed to get those resources to market-infrastructure like the Keystone XL pipeline. Yet as Minister Oliver says, “The environmental movement has used this as a symbolic type of project to advance their objective, which is to stop the production of oil sands, and ultimately the production of hydrocarbons.”

Oil, however, is here to stay for the foreseeable future. The demand for energy is going to grow by a third from now until 2035 according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), with hydrocarbons representing over 2/3 of the world’s energy at that point. Better for the United States to get oil from places like Canada as much as possible than from places like Venezuela, which is a less reliable source with less stringent environmental standards, and which moreover is hostile to the US and its values.

The amount of opposition to Keystone XL that exists is surely due in part to a lack of understanding and information. “I don’t think that most Canadians or Americans realize the vast web of pipelines that currently exist,” says the Minister, pointing out that there are already many tens of thousands of kilometres of pipelines in Canada. Furthermore, Canada and the United States have a longstanding energy relationship. For one thing, there are already 81 international pipelines between our two countries. Keystone XL would be the 82nd.

Links of interest: Joe Oliver’s Full Bio | About Keystone XL | Natural Resources Canada’s Pipeline Facts | IEA World Energy Outlook 2013 Factsheet

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