So you think you know trucks, most people think they do… but unless you are involved with operating one, you probably don’t know them very well at all. Trucks are often nothing more than obstacles, big bloated things that annoy you on the freeway, block the view, and accelerate like they are loaded with three planets.
On the other hand, for people that build stuff, and move stuff, and make the world go ‘round, trucks are the silent (OK, nearly silent) heroes of the world.
Industrial trucks are there for a purpose, and the purpose is a very good one. They are a key part of the distribution channel for everything we do in life. We don’t think about their value and their contribution, and the fact that our way of life depends on them. If that sounds familiar, it is because that is the exact situation Canada’s energy industry finds itself in.
What a wonderful match then, for a noble fleet of trucks, filled with proud, resilient owners and employees, to make its way to our nation’s capital to say hello, and to make clear a point that can be made no other way, apparently. Maybe a fleet of hundreds of trucks spanning many kilometres will provide a visual reminder of that which seems impossible to convey in words. Maybe our leaders will begin to understand the magnitude of what is involved in helping someone, say, go dancing in India, or fly to a climate conference in Poland or Australia or South America, or even turning up the thermostat. There are no elves in that little box that brings you more heat.
Canada’s place in the energy world is not that complicated. First off, it is indisputable to say that Canada and the world relies on fossil fuels to a degree it can’t imagine. It is indisputable to say that no other energy system exists to provide the world with the standard of living it demands, or to say that seven billion people cannot survive without an extremely large amount of petroleum. No theoretical IPCC declaration about the “need for unprecedented change” can alter the fact that “unprecedented change” is a blackboard theory without link to the real world, one that could only be put forward by people who likely burst into tears at the not-dulcet sound of a diesel engine. Now, listen carefully, to think differently than the IPCC is most vehemently not a call for complacency; it is a call for planning before acting, for ordering the new shingles before ripping off the old ones, and for working within the bounds of reality as dictated by the life choices of seven billion people.
Words sometimes fall on deaf ears in Ottawa, because those ears are ringing with UN proclamations to JUST DO SOMETHING, whether it makes sense or not. That is not a way forward, just as you don’t teach a teenager to drive by filling the car with adults who all shout continuously at the poor Instagrammer until he or she runs into a tree. Federal politicians and their inner-circle Rasputins have been convinced that Canada must annihilate something, anything, to meet climate targets, targets which will do nothing to materially dent global emissions, targets which are meaningless when set without reference to export levels, immigration levels, and geographical location. Canada cumulatively is one of the world’s largest suppliers of raw materials and food, is one of the most welcoming of foreign citizens, and is, to those who haven’t been, almost unfathomably large and cold. You have been told that Canada’s per-capita emissions are too high, by people demanding action. That is not the place to start solving problems. There is no way for Canada to be at the bottom end of per-capita emitters unless we shut down the entire country and line up for UN funding.
You will not find a single person in one of those Ottawa-bound trucks who wants external funding for anything. They do not want handouts, they do not want panicky government loans, they do not want special treatment. They may seem like oddballs to you in that sense, but stay calm, they will not hurt you. They simply want to be recognized for providing fuel and materials to the world in a world-class performance, for operating under safety and environmental standards that are comparable to anyone’s, and they want to play on the same playing field that the rest of the world does.
Ottawa, there will no doubt be a counteroffensive by special interest environmental activist groups who will try to drown out what your hinterland cousins have to say. The activists will be noisy, but could we ask a favour? You listen to those environmental groups every day; in fact, they infiltrate your offices and plot your strategies. So, since the truck brigade is only in town for a short time, please give this distant group of travellers a fair hearing. They will have come a long way just to actually get your attention.
Just so you know also, this is not simply an “Alberta” initiative; it is a Canadian one. Those truckers will either be from all parts of Canada, or will have roots there. In fact, trucks will be coming to you from the east as well as the west. If I can, and there’s room, I will be joining them.
I hope you’re as excited to meet as we are. We have a story to tell that has not made it through your filters thus far. This time, we are hoping to rectify that.
Should more Canadians read this article? Visit the BOE Report Advocacy section to see how you can help spread the word.