People, Politics and The Patch

Oct 01, 2017, 02:35 PM

It's no secret that Albertans feel strongly about our reliance on natural resources like oil to provide jobs and wealth and certainly some Albertans feel strongly about the impact our oil has on the environment at home and abroad. For decades, the oilsands depended on taxpayer money to stay in business, and keep multinational oil fiirms involved in development, and when the oil price started heading north of $100 a barrel, it looked like the patch might finally turn a profit. Employment ramped up, and resource royalty money started pouring into government's coffers. However, Alberta and Canada have precious little influence over the price of oil, so when the price tanked, the impact was felt throughout the country in lost jobs and revenues. Chris Turner is an award-winning writer on the subjects of climate and energy issues who has a new book called "The Patch." It looks at what the oilsands has meant to the people who work there. He explores what pipeline construction and other technology will mean to the future of exporting the resource. And given the limited influence Alberta has over oil prices, what can any politician - local or national - possibly promise for prosperity? Russell Bowers spoke with Chris Turner.