Falling Prices Left Harper’s ‘Energy Superpower’ Promise in Tatters
Stephen Harper’s promise to make Canada an “energy superpower” came back to haunt him this year, as oil prices tanked and the bottom fell out of Alberta’s fossil-driven economy, The Guardian reported late last week.
“Harper linked Canada’s future prosperity to natural resources exploitation when he came to power in 2006, championing the expansion of the Alberta tar sands,” the paper reported. But the crashing oil market, along with the failure of the Keystone XL pipeline, “have injected uncertainty into the long-term future of Alberta’s vast carbon reserves,” turning the superpower promise into “an election liability for the prime minister.”
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As a result, “you won’t hear Mr. Harper talking at all about an energy superpower during this election,” pollster Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research Associates, told The Guardian. “It is clear that most Canadians do not think Mr. Harper’s approach to the economy, and to oil sands in particular, was the right one.”
EKOS data show that “Canadians overall favour a post-carbon economy by a three-to-one margin over the prime minister’s carbon-heavy strategy,” Goldenberg writes. “Even in Alberta, which is heavily dependent on the tar sands, 56% want the province to fight climate change. Nearly half, or 48%, think the tar sands are already big enough,” and “more than two-thirds think the government should focus on diversifying the economy, rather than helping the oil and gas industry.”