Western Canada ships huge volumes of coal, grains, sulphur, potash, forest products and some oil through British Columbia’s coast. Overseas markets are demanding expansion. Extracting, processing, moving and handling these resources creates profits, tax revenues and jobs but also involves costs and risks. Some people point to the hazards and unsustainable aspects of these activities from local and global perspectives. Some residents, municipalities and First Nations around ports and near road, rail and pipeline corridors express concern over more industrial activity, including the potential for dangerous commodity spills.
Debate on the risks and rewards of western resource trade has grown in recent years, with interest groups on all sides seeking to shape public opinion. Underlying this are difficult questions about society’s decision-making process. Are there enough agreed facts for a true debate? How can widely divergent views on development, including for energy products, be reconciled? Is a hard collision of interests and values unavoidable and if so what will be its fall-out. How can Canadian society find an optimum policy, choosing what rewards to pursue, and what risks are acceptable?
The conference brought together those representing a range of interests and viewpoints. CILTNA members from the transportation and logistics industry, consultants and academics, and our many student members were joined by invited guests from the media, First Nations, all orders of government, and NGO’s advocating greater environmental protection and conservation.
With CILTNA as a non-partisan forum, speakers reviewed the current state of resource development debate. They aim to educate and inform each other and to move towards a meeting of the minds on how to answer the difficult questions.The Rewards and Risks of Western Resource Trade CILTNA_Pacific_Sept_17_Conf_Proceedings_Final