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Low Oil Prices Point to Canada’s Economic Vulnerability

Oil prices at a five-year low should be a wake-up call for Canada to abandon an economic strategy based strictly on tar sands/oil sands production, argues Keith Brooks, Director of Environmental Defence’s Clean Energy Program.

“The Toronto Stock Exchange is plummeting in lock step with the fall in oil prices,” Brooks wrote October 18. “The loonie [the Canadian dollar] is heading in the same direction, hopefully putting to bed any debate as to whether Canada has a petro-currency. Provinces that rely on oil royalties and revenues will likely have difficulty balancing their budgets. The federal government may be in a similar predicament, too. The drop in oil prices may even imperil Canada’s economic recovery.”

Noting that tar sands/oil sands only account for 2% of Canada’s GDP, “we can break with this reliance now, rather than double down, as industry would have us do,” Brooks writes.