Canada Election Comes at Pivotal Point for Energy

Copyright © 2021 Energy Intelligence Group

Canadians will go to the polls next week in an election that has broad implications for the country’s energy sector. As the world’s fifth-largest producer of both oil and natural gas, Canada’s energy industry is a pillar of the national economy. But the oil sands that account for the bulk of the country’s crude output produce some of the most carbon-intensive barrels on the planet, putting the sector at odds with the country’s ambitions to lead the world in the fight against climate change. This election is unique in that it will be the first federal contest in which climate and energy fit squarely within each party’s platform. The results could shape the future of Canada’s oil and gas sector. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in August called a snap election that many saw as an unnecessary gamble. Recent polling shows Trudeau’s Liberals in a dead heat with the Conservatives heading into election day, putting the prime minister at risk of losing or weakening his grip on power instead of securing a clear majority as he had hoped. On climate, both parties are trying to thread a political needle as they look to shore up support from their fragmented bases and win back disaffected voters who have drifted left or right. After barely uttering the word “climate” in the 2019 elections, the Conservatives now understand it to be a key issue for voters and concede that the oil sands’ long-term fate — and their own electoral prospects — may depend on sound climate and energy policies.

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