Canada’s Energy Future: Boom or Bust?

This event took place on Tuesday, October 1, 2019

This panel asks the question, Can Canada’s energy future address environmental concerns and land disputes, while still generating a successful and profitable energy industry? Or will the needs of various stakeholders leave us in a perpetual state of conflict?

Three experts on Canada's energy industry will attempt to answer whether we can achieve a balance between competing stakeholders and, if not, what this will mean for Canadians.

About the Speakers

Larry Hughes (Chair)
Dr. Larry Hughes is a professor at Dalhousie University where he teaches undergraduate Computer Engineering courses and an interdisciplinary graduate course in energy systems analysis. His research interests focus on the means by which a jurisdiction can identify, quantify, and mitigate the risks to the energy security of its energy system while transforming to a low-carbon economy.

He has written reports on electric vehicles for Nova Scotia Power and been an intervener at several UARB hearings on electricity rates and the Maritime Link.

Larry Hughes on why Policy Matters
"Policy matters because it describes a plan or course of action for an entity to follow to meet or achieve certain goals. Ideally, both policy and the entity are able to adapt to changing circumstances.

For example, in an industrial or post-industrial society, energy policies govern the actions of an energy system so that it can provide customers with access to an uninterrupted, affordable supply of energy that is considered socially, politically, or environmentally acceptable."

Kirsten Zickfeld
Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld is an Associate Professor in the Geography Department at Simon Fraser University, which she joined in 2010. She holds a PhD in climate physics (2004) from the University of Potsdam in Germany. Her primary research interests are in the long-term effects of human activities on climate. She is internationally known for her research on the reversibility of human-induced climate change, carbon budgets consistent with climate targets and climate feedbacks. She served as a Lead Author of the recently released IPCC Special Report on the Global Warming of 1.5 degrees and is a Lead Author of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.

Dennis McConaghy
Dennis McConaghy has 30 years of experience in the Canadian energy industry in prominent commercial executive positions that included the commercial development of the Keystone XL pipeline systems within TransCanada Pipelines from its conception in 2006 to the finalization of commercial agreements in 2008.  He is currently a visiting fellow at the public policy and energy studies schools at the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario and an adjunct fellow at the Niskanen Center, a DC based think tank focused on carbon and energy policy. In 2017 Dennis published a book, “Dysfunction – Canada after Keystone XL”, analyzing the Keystone XL experience and its implications for Canada. As well, he continues to be an active commentator on current energy and carbon policy issues. This fall Dennis’s second book, "Breakdown, the last four years of pipeline frustration in Canada", will be published.

Jacques Poitras
Jacques Poitras has been a political reporter in New Brunswick for more than two decades. He is also the author of five books, including Pipe Dreams: The Fight for Canada's Energy Future, and the national bestseller Irving vs. Irving: Canada's Feuding Billionaires and the Stories They Won't Tell. He lives in Fredericton.

Jacques Poitras on why Policy Matters
"Policy matters because it is the road map that elected officials require when they govern. Emergencies, partisan considerations and other factors will intrude on decision-making, but a sound foundation in policy will provide guidance and focus."

About the series

Policy Matters is a weekly panel discussion on major policy issues presented by the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance. Each discussion features thought leaders from civil society and focuses on one of the Institute's four research themes – Civic Engagement, Atlantic Canada and the World, Health Systems and Governance and Smart Infrastructure. Held each Tuesday from September 10 to November 19, the discussions take place in room 1020 of the Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building at Dalhousie, from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm. The events are designed to encourage public engagement with local, national and international policy issues and are open to the public.

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