The building has just begun

Peter Boag is President and CEO of the Canadian Fuels Association.

I was starting high school the year Canada celebrated its centennial. My visit to Expo 67 was part of a school field trip. Expo was a big deal for a country still trying to find its footing in the world and, to me, the event was a startling and exciting glimpse of the future. Not just for the shock of modernist architecture, although that was eye opening; rather, for the snapshot of Canada fully engaged with the world—a world eager to be in Canada, and eager to welcome us as a member of the global family.

Expo 67’s theme, Man and His World, was based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Terre des Hommes, a book the celebrated French Canadian writer Gabrielle Roy noted for its “dreams and hopes for the future.” Hope for the future has always burned strong in Canada. But our strength has also been characterized by a determination to exceed hope and fully realize the future we see and desire.

Sharing the idea of Canada

Canada’s 150th birthday is a celebration of many things, but chief among them must be the determination Canadians continue to bring to the humbling job of building this country. The immense and ongoing physical challenges come immediately to mind given our daunting climate and geography. But there are also vital abstract achievements, the forming of what Governor General David Johnston refers to in the title to his recent book as The Idea of Canada: the combined values, traditions and accomplishments that continue to captivate the world and make Canada unique among nations.

As we pause in 2017 to celebrate all that our country has achieved, it should be abundantly clear that the work of nation building—the great task of shaping Canada—has in fact just begun. The task is now ours. The success we achieve will be measured by our children and grandchildren in social, economic and environmental terms—not one or another, but all three in balance. A delicate and at times difficult balance, certainly. We all know there’s little that is easy about building a country.

Fuelling tomorrow’s Canada

At Canadian Fuels, we are delighted to join in Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations. We represent an industry that has been instrumental in building Canada. We are proud of the contribution our people and products have made over more than a century to help shape a country that exemplifies peace and prosperity. We understand that petroleum fuels will be essential to help build tomorrow’s Canada—the one we imagine together. Canadian Fuels’ members are truly excited about the opportunity and ready for the responsibility.

Each year, Perspectives gathers the balanced and independent insights of journalists, researchers and industry experts. Our goal is to help build awareness of the essential role of petroleum fuels to our country, and to provide readers with knowledge to shape informed opinions on fuel and transportation policy in Canada.

In this special issue of Perspectives, the theme of nation building is clear and strong as we consider the past and the future of mobility in Canada and the way intelligent fuel choices can help propel our country further into the 21st century. The great Canadian road trip (pg. 4) explores the historic role of railroads and highways in sparking the domestic economic growth that ranks Canada among the world’s most competitive countries. We examine the work that lies ahead to re-envision and rebuild cities as healthy and thriving places to live and work (The drive for a new urban form, pg. 24). In Power to the people (pg. 20) we review key industry initiatives to make driving more economical and environmentally friendly. We look at the quest to help the North achieve energy self‑sufficiency (Northern power, pg. 27). The elephant in the room (pg. 12) busts myths about the vehicles that will move us into the future. We learn how Canada will keep freight moving on our roads (Freight forward, pg. 16), and discuss the safe and efficient flow of crude oil via pipelines (Pipeline paradox, pg. 30).

It is hard to believe that 1967 is now 50 years in the past. Canada remains a young country in the world, but few have grown as fast in stature and influence on the world stage. Tomorrow’s Canada holds even greater promise. On our country’s 150th birthday, I can think of no better reason to celebrate.

Canada’s 150th birthday is a celebration of many things, but chief among them must be the determination Canadians continue to bring to the humbling job of building this country.