Osler Special Advisor Brad Wall says he is “optimistic” about the future prospects of Canada’s energy sector and that we should be “very excited about Canadian agriculture.” In a video interview, Brad, the former Premier of Saskatchewan, discussed a wide range of topics including Canada’s energy and agricultural sectors; navigating the public consultation process; the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA or USMCA) and more.
On energy, Brad explains the importance of Canada having a plan to get its oil to tide water and of Canadians becoming more engaged on the issue, particularly as oil demands are projected to increase.
“So if oil demand is growing, and Canada decides to not be a part of supplying it because we can’t get a pipeline built, well the demand will be met, but it will be met by countries arguably that don’t care as much about the environment as we do, whose industries aren’t as responsible as ours,” Brad says. “Some countries will meet that demand that don’t even believe in basic human rights.”
He adds that he believes the federal government understands how important this issue is to Canadians as support for pipelines increases, which is one of the reasons why he’s “optimistic” for the energy sector.
Brad also says there is cause for optimism in Canada’s agricultural sector, which he says can take advantage of the growing trend of plant-based protein, for example. He says that Saskatchewan, for instance, is a leader in pulse crops — which include plant-based proteins such as field peas, lentils and chick peas — which he says “don’t just have a great potential for new markets and growing markets in Asia, but actually in the West as well, as people want more plant-based protein options.
“So that’s just one segment of agriculture – of course there’s cereals, which are very strong, there’s diversification happening into other crops; soy bean, corn.”
He says that Canadian agriculture, in part, is why free trade across North America is so “vital,” as was coming to an agreement on the USMCA. “We have a large country with great resources, and not a huge population, and we need to trade,” Brad says. “If you’re right next door to a country that’s got a huge population, it just makes sense to make sure you always are erring on the side of freer trade with that jurisdiction.”
For more of Brad Wall’s views on trade, energy, agriculture and Osler, watch Brad’s full interview: