Canadian Energy Policy and the Struggle for Sustainable Development

Article excerpt

G. Bruce Doern (ed.), Canadian Energy Policy and the Struggle for Sustainable Development (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), xi + 341 pp. Paper. $29.95. ISBN 0-8020-8561-X.

Canadian energy policy presents a series of paradoxes that mirror the country's ongoing preoccupations with its own political, economic, social and environmental sustainability: an avowedly green nation with one of the world's highest per capita energy usages; a federation struggling to reconcile the political priorities of its energy-rich provincial west with the economic needs of the east and centre; a social democracy seeking to exploit the energy resources of its northern lands in a manner that respects the claims of their indigenous majorities while satisfying the demands of the bulk of Canadians living near the American border. This volume is based on an Ottawa conference held in 2002 that brought together policy-makers and academics to review the implication of such paradoxes for federal and provincial energy policy, and for Canada's international energy obligations. In the intervening period, although the issues remain largely unchanged, the world market has switched from under-pricing to over-pricing primary energy supplies. Although the new market regime should favour net energy exporters, it has also intensified some of the political pressures underpinning Canada's fragmented energy policy.

The secondary title of the volume refers to the struggle for sustainable development, which provides the analytical framework for its contributions. Many are from Canadian academic sources operating in a legal context, which explains the legalistic way in which sustainable development is generally defined: by reference to government policy statements that are deemed to constitute a sustainable energy strategy. …