Canada An Energy Superpower? Not!

Frances Russell

Remember back in 2006 when Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasted confidently that Canada was about to become an “energy superpower?”

A February 2014 report by the International Monetary Fund shows that Canada never was and, probably now, never will be. The IMF report is similar to one by the Canadian Energy Research Institute in 2011. It found that 94 per cent of the economic benefits of expanding the oil sands remain in just one province, Alberta.

The picture painted is startling:

. Canada’s energy sector created only 1.7 per cent of all new jobs in Canada from 2007 to 2012;

. Outside the energy sector and the producing provinces, the positive impacts of additional exports are “surprisingly modest.”

. A $1 increase in investment in Alberta’s energy sector boosts Canadian manufacturing GDP by just three cents, with most of the impact being in Alberta itself. The links between the Canadian oil and gas sector and Canadian manufacturing are “very weak.”

. A $1 increase in energy investment in Alberta boosts Canadian GDP by 89 cents. But of that amount, 82 cents will be in Alberta itself. Ontario’s GDP would grow by just four cents and that of all other provinces, by three cents and the U.S. by two cents.

“The energy sector accounts for only 0.1 percentage points of the average 2 ¼ per cent annual GDP growth over the last decade,” the IMF report states. “Also, employment in the energy sector increased by less than 13,000 between 2007 and 2012 – just 1.7 per cent of all new jobs – compared to a total of 752,000 jobs created over the same period in Canada.”