Canada’s oil soaked economy fueling recession


Canada’s fossil fuel dependency is at the heart of the nation “on the verge of a recession,” and it’s taking center stage ahead of this year’s federal elections. Federal Prime Minister Stephen Harper is seeking his fourth term in office, despite being accused of “employing a greatest-hits approach to the 2015 election campaign, recycling both rhetoric and policies” as he hits the campaign trail in a country whose economy is in decline. Experts agree that Harper’s oil-dependent economic strategy — where the nation has been at the mercy of volatile oil prices — is what drove the country into this situation in the first place. Meanwhile, a grim federal report on May’s gross domestic product (GDP) revealed that Canada’s economy shrank for its fifth consecutive month as a result of plunging oil prices. Though many analysts were well attuned to the country’s dire economic circumstances for months, Tory government officials downplayed the situation throughout the summer in spite of continued federal data revealing otherwise. As opposition leaders gear up to battle it out for one of the longest campaign runs in national history, all eyes will be on candidates to put forward innovative economic reforms that free taxpayers from the clutch of the oil and gas sector.


RT @BinkyBaxter1 Recession-magnet Stephen Harper has some explaining to do about his bungling of the economy. #cdnpoli #elxn42

Key Points

  • Canada’s oil industry is not the country’s cradle of prosperity. According to Statistics Canada, tar sands development contributes just over 2 per cent toward Canada’s gross domestic product, less than 2 per cent of employment, and 15 per cent of net trade flow. Despite this, Canada’s economy has been on a downward spiral ever since the oil market crashed largely due to overreliance on the sector. As the industry’s credibility dwindles, even global investors are pulling out their money from Canada’s fossil fuel sector.
  • Acting for the climate is good for the economy. Experts agree that slashing emissions wouldn’t compromise economic growth. Renewable energy continues to get cheaper, with solar and wind power now cost competitive with fossil fuels in many places; while the global market for low-carbon goods and services is already worth more than US $5.5 trillion and is growing at over 3 per cent per year. The global shift towards clean energy is stronger than ever, and it’s now up to policymakers to take the leap and join the ongoing movement.
  • Canadians are ready for transition away from oil-dominated leadership. Alberta voters, home base for the country’s oil industry, elected a vastly different leader to represent their interests. Meanwhile, diverse voices continue to come together and call on their leaders to ensure jobs, justice and protection for the climate. Across the country, people are ready, willing and able to move away from oil, and if the current federal continues to stay disillusioned from this reality, the consequences may be reflected in the ballots.



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