Photo: Economist says oil is not the answer

(Credit: rickz via Flickr)

By Winnie Hwo, Public Engagement Specialist

Polls show Canadians are worried about the state of the economy. It's not surprising, when world oil prices continue to hover around $45 per barrel and Canada is one of the top six oil-producing nations, after Iran, China, the U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia.

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According to Jeff Rubin, former chief economist for CIBC World Markets and author of two best-sellers, Canadians are experiencing a made-in-Canada recession that should not have happened. For the audience, which included community leaders and ethnic media representatives at the David Suzuki Foundation's "Oil is not the answer" roundtable with Jeff Rubin September 30, this is valuable information and a fresh perspective.

More often than not, Canada's diverse communities are inundated by so-called pundits and political parties claiming the economy is the most important consideration, especially during election time. Rubin's messaging, which combines economic expertise and environmental concerns, helps new Canadian audiences appreciate the fact that anything less than a balancing act of economy and environment is untenable for our future.

Rubin reminded the audience that Canada has entered a carbon bubble because we have invested "all our eggs in one basket."

Rubin's visit also generated a number of media interviews, with the Globe and Mail, Global Television, Roundhouse Radio, Chinese Canadian Radio AM1320 and South Asian Spice Radio.

Rubin told the 280,000 readers of Ming Pao Daily, Canada's major Chinese language paper, about the impacts of climate change and the high cost of production for Canadian oil sands, which have made our oil industry's future untenable. A bursting carbon bubble leads to "deep and heavy" economic consequences for the country.

On Fairchild Television's evening news program, Rubin shared his views with a good portion of the 1.5 million Chinese-Canadians on why oil and carbon are not the answer for our future, environmentally or economically.

"When oil prices continue to drop, the oil industry has a lot of difficulty operating," Rubin said, adding China's energy demand will affect our fossil fuel industry. 'It doesn't matter who we sell our commodities to; the price of the commodities will be hugely affected by how much the Chinese are buying. Take coal for example. Last year was the first year China did not increase its coal consumption, or even dropped slightly. Well, that had a huge, dramatic impact on world coal prices."

China's economy has shown signs of slowing down in recent months. As well, the country is also moving rapidly into renewable energy investment, to the tune of $83 billion in 2014. These factors are bound to have an impact on demand for oil.

At the end of the Fairchild interview, the news program host concluded, "Based on the current oil prices, be it building oil pipelines, or developing oil in the Arctic, our new direction must put more weight on diversification, so as to lower the risk of world resource pricing that impacts Canadian economy."

To view Rubin's Fairchild Television feature interview —

October 13, 2015

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