This article explains how, behind the confrontational posturing between Alberta and the Federal government, there are negotiations between the two that would address Alberta’s concern for the health of its oil industry and Ottawa’s focus on climate change.


Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, has been quite confrontational with the federal government over the carbon tax. This stance is popular with the people of Alberta, and as all politicians know, there is a need to consider your base. One additional major concern for Alberta is the health of the oil industry which has taken severe hits lately. Ottawa’s focus on climate change would seem to put it in direct opposition to Alberta’s desire to enhance its oil industry. This, apparently, is a clear example of the economy versus the environment debate. Yet, behind the scenes, there are discussions going on which would entail the federal government pouring billions of dollars into Alberta to help develop its expensive carbon capture technology. If these efforts come to fruition, it would prove to be an example of how the controversy of economy versus environment can be overcome and both interests can be recognized. This lesson will have the students examine this initiative and then look to other ways in which this economy versus environment debate can be overcome.

Subject Area(s) covered

Environmental studies, business studies, world issues, politics

New Terms to explain

Frenemies, CCUS

Materials Needed

Access to the article

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

The students can see that the confrontational debate between the economy and the environment need not continue. There are ways in which both interests can be met.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Ask the students to describe the relationship that exists between Alberta and the federal government.
  • Assuming that they describe it as confrontational, ask them to explain the nature of the conflict between the two.
  • Once again, assuming that they identify the basis of the conflict as being the carbon tax and confrontation between Alberta’s desire to protect its oil industry and the federal government’s focus on climate change, explain to them that the two may not be as opposed to one another as it may seem.
  • Direct them to the article and give them time to read it.
  • With the reading completed, hold a plenary session and discuss with them their reactions to what they have just read.
  • Working with a partner, either in class or on-line, have the students discuss other issues which could be addressed that would address the economy versus the environment conflict and be prepared to explain to the others in the class the process by which that cooperative effort could be accomplished.

Consolidation of Learning

  • The students will present their ideas to the class and respond to any comments or questions.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

  • The students will demonstrate an understanding that there does not necessarily have to be a conflict between the goals of climate change and a viable economy.

Confirming Activities

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • Explore how green energy technologies can help offset any negative impacts on the fossil fuel industries.