Is Canada’s oil sector an appropriate target for industrial policy support?
If we’re looking for sectors with big potential payoffs via future growth, oil as a burnable fuel probably isn’t on the list. That’s not to say the oil patch has no prospects. Smart industrial policy starts with existing resources and skills, which exist there in abundance, and tries to nurture new fields of promise.
Canadian discussions on the future of oil quickly descend to partisan polemics, with the environmental community arguing that climate change realities mean we need to leave it in the ground, and the oil patch arguing that it’s better that we produce it than our unethical global competitors. One way forward may be to think about the oil sector through an industrial policy lens, writes Aaron Cosbey. The Hill Times file photograph by Jake Wright