LONDON -- In Alberta's oil patch, the words "national energy program" are usually uttered as a curse, a reference to the ill-fated 1980s program of oil nationalization and price controls.Specifically, the oil industry knows it's currently in the worst of all possible worlds: they know a price on carbon is coming, but they don't know what the price will be. So they can't possibly plan their next round of investments rationally until Ottawa shits or gets off the pot. This, in turn, means that we're going to need an election, and we'll need for the Conservatives to lose it. Harper isn't realistically going to bring in a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, but his intransigence is not going to help the oil industry in any case.
But in a possible sign of changing times, several senior Canadian energy executives have used a gathering in London this week to make an unprecedented call for an increased federal role in their industry - some even daring to call for Ottawa to develop a comprehensive national energy policy.
Meanwhile, it's not even that I disagree with this statement, so much as it nicely encapsulates the total alienation from human communities that large market actors live with:
More federal money for education for oil workers is another key demand.You see, there aren't enough Canadians to guarantee the oil industry the profits they would like. So -- rather than restrain the ambitions of the oil industry even a little -- the obvious answer is that we need more people. So get to fucking, Canada: the oil industry needs you!
Several of the oil firms are spending large sums funding trade schools in their operating areas, but still are short of skilled workers.
Mainly, though, they said Canada needs a larger population.