Vancouver, B.C. – June 6, 2012 – Canada’s biggest challenge as an energy exporting country is security of demand, and Asia offers the greatest opportunity to respond to this challenge, according to a task force report released today by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and the Canada West Foundation.
The report, entitled ‘Securing Canada’s Energy Future,’ outlines the case for making a broad-based Canada-Asia energy relationship a national priority. It calls for leadership to develop a strategic framework to enhance energy relations with Asia, which is a primary locus of global economic growth and source of growing energy demand in the foreseeable future.
Established in the fall of 2011, the Canada-Asia Energy Futures Taskforce is co-chaired by The Hon. Kevin Lynch, Vice-Chair of BMO Financial Group, and Ms. Kathy Sendall, Director of CGG Veritas. Mr. Lynch stated that, “We need to think critically, strategically and wisely about Canada’s energy future with Asia. We have an immense opportunity to turn Canada’s energy trade with Asia into a benefit for all regions of Canada, but to do so requires leadership and collaborative innovation on many levels.”
The task force, composed of individuals with backgrounds in public policy, business, aboriginal affairs, academia, economics, and sustainable development, offers preliminary recommendations for the creation of a strategic framework on Canada-Asia energy relations. Key recommendations include:
- Think ‘big’ on diversification.
- Country diversification: China is a priority market, but not the only market. Japan, South Korea, and India are all opportunities for market diversification that can strengthen Canada’s security of demand.
- Product diversification: Energy clusters can serve as platforms for the expansion and diversification of energy trade with Asia, and can do so in a way that incorporates not only oil and gas, but also renewable energy and green technologies.
- Industry diversification: Asia’s rising middle classes, as well as the need for major investments in infrastructure, provide opportunities for Canada beyond the energy sector. Canada needs to bolster support to its small and medium-sized enterprises and to pursue public-private trade development partnerships to help firms from various industrial sectors trade successfully in Asia.
- Diversification through innovation: Universities, governments and industry should collaborate to establish energy innovation institutes to expand the range andquality of energy research and technology.
- Promote leadership on all levels. The federal and provincial governments, the private sector, First Nations governments, communities and environmental groups each have an important role to play in establishing a framework that benefits all parties. The creation of a Canada Council on Asia could bring together Canadian and Asian leaders to provide wise counsel on Canada’s diversification objectives in Asia.
- Commit to infrastructure development. A commitment to invest in hard and soft infrastructure to export energy is a pre-requisite for closer economic ties with Asia. Developing a public energy transportation corridor constituted by government, regulated as a kind of public utility, and operated by the private sector merits further study. This corridor could consist of a combination of pipelines and rail transportation for oil and gas to the west coast.
“We still have a lot to explore in the nascent Canada-Asia energy relationship,” said Ms. Sendall. “We all agree that we can no longer be complacent in how we deal with Asia on the energy file. The window of opportunity will not be open forever, and now is the time to play our strongest card to strengthen our overall relations with the region.”
The Canada-Asia Energy Futures Task Force was created as part of APF Canada’s National Conversation on Asia (NCA). This project aims to get Canadians thinking and talking about what Asia means to Canada.
To view the full report, follow this link: http://www.asiapacific.ca/research-report/securing-canadas-energy-future
About the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada is an independent resource for Canadians on contemporary Asia and Canada-Asia relations. As a national not-for-profit organization established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1984, the Foundation brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Asia and on Canada's transpacific relations. It promotes dialogue on economic, security, political and social issues, helping to inform public policy, the Canadian public and Canada’s Asia practitioners. The Foundation is funded principally through an endowment from the Government of Canada and by corporate and individual donors. Visit APF Canada at www.asiapacific.ca
About Canada West Foundation
The Canada West Foundation is the only think tank dedicated to being the objective, non-partisan voice for issues of vital concern to western Canadians. For over 40 years, through its research and commentary, the Foundation has contributed to better government decisions and a stronger Canadian economy. Visit us online at www.cwf.ca
About the National Conversation on Asia
The National Conversation on Asia is a Canada-wide initiative to get Canadians thinking and talking about what Asian means to Canada. It includes a public education and policy development focus. This initiative is generously supported in part by our Founding Partners: Teck, Shell Canada, Manulife Financial and BMO Financial Group; Founding Sponsors: HSBC Bank Canada and Port Metro Vancouver; and Founding Supporters: Port of Halifax, Fiera Capital, Deloitte, Vancouver Airport Authority, Husky Energy, Canadian Pacific, TELUS and Blakes.
To arrange interviews or for more information, please contact:
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Communications Team Lead
Canada West Foundation