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Welcome to another year of stomping on Canada’s most important industry

14 12 1069
17.01.2019

What was Canada’s biggest business news story of 2018? According to the pundits at The Canadian Press, it wasn’t the giveaway of Canadian oil to Americans for tens of billions of dollars below world prices, caused by a lack of pipelines from Alberta. It wasn’t the loss of tens of billions more in oil and gas investment to the U.S., because Canada is too hostile to building new projects. It wasn’t the Americanization of Encana, once the largest of all Canadian-headquartered companies. It wasn’t the federal Liberal government’s forced purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan because the expansion faced insurmountable opposition from the B.C. government and indigenous groups. Nor was it the court decision blocking the federal government from completing that project. Instead, The Canadian Press’s choice of business news story of the year was … the legalization of cannabis.

Given their confusion over what really matters to Canada, perhaps Canadian Press panel members weren’t only considering cannabis, but smoking it. According to BNN Bloomberg, annual cannabis revenues are expected to be about $6 billion. Meanwhile, despite receiving far less than the market value for its product, the oil and gas industry contributed some $117 billion to Canada’s GDP last year. That’s more than six times the economic contribution of the Ontario auto industry, where the closure of a single plant impacting 2,600 workers generated more Canadian Press stories than the layoff of 100,000 Alberta oil workers.

The drastic decline of Canada’s most important industry wasn’t created by just one event or action, but rather a combination of ideological antagonism to fossil fuels and tunnel vision. Here are my choices for the truly big Canadian business news headlines from 2018. Given how bad the news was, maybe using these to shed some light in that tunnel might help make 2019 better. It could hardly have been worse.

Canadians still can’t buy Canadian oil

Hundreds of tankers churn up the St. Lawrence carrying oil from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Iraq, Nigeria, Angola........

© Financial Post