Peter Boag
President and CEO, Canadian Fuels Association

August 2019

A reminder to federal election candidates on the vital importance of our critical energy infrastructure – including the refining sector

For most of us, summer is a time to catch our breath and enjoy some down time with friends and family – whether boating on our waterways, flying cross-country, taking  a road trip, a day trip, going hiking in a provincial or national park, relaxing with a stack of books at a cottage or enjoying a staycation.

Whatever your recipe for unwinding is, chances are you needed a vehicle, whether a car, an SUV, an RV, a boat or a plane to enable some of the experiences that made your summer enjoyable.  And, whatever your vehicle of choice, the odds are that it runs on our fuels. In fact, our fuels still power 95% of transportation vehicles in Canada.
As summer draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the importance of these fuels, whether gasoline, diesel, marine or jet fuel, to both our way of life and our economic prosperity.  
There is a good reason why Canada and its closest allies consider the energy sector, including fuels refining, a key element of critical infrastructure.   Energy and the services it provides – transportation, lighting, heating and cooling, and industrial power – is an essential underpinning of our society. Without access to these essential energy services, we’d be forced to revert to an economy and a standard of living far removed from what we enjoy and expect today.  Canada’s critical energy infrastructure – including petroleum refineries – provides that access. 
As we enter the pre-election season this is also a message we would like to leave with all candidates of all parties.  The role energy infrastructure plays in our daily lives should anchor any discussion about reconciling our economic and environmental aspirations, including the speed with which we can convert to new energy sources or expectations for emissions reductions from existing infrastructure assets like refineries.  
This is not to say that we don’t realize that the fuel mix is changing – it is just that the pace of change is not as fast as some would think.  So while we think about how we will adapt and adjust over the long term it’s important that we make sure we have a dependable supply of fuels for all our needs, whether work or leisure.
And the best guarantee that gasoline, diesel and all the other fuels will be there when we need them is to maintain strong, competitive Canadian refiners.  This will ensure that Canadians continue to have secure, reliable and convenient access to the high quality fuels that underpin their quality of life.  
Disruptive change will be exactly that – disruptive to the lives of millions of Canadian families who today rely on our energy infrastructure to fuel their cars, heat their homes and power their places of work.  A clear-eyed assessment of Canada’s track record of environmental performance improvement will confirm the impressive results of an incremental approach, underpinned by continuous improvement, and balanced by an aspiration to sustain economic growth and improve our standard of living. 
So as the upcoming federal election nears, our message to all candidates is: remember the vital importance of our critical energy infrastructure – including the refining sector.  We’re the people who get Canadians where they need to go now and well into the future. 
Canadian Fuels Association