Policy Horizons Canada is a strategic foresight organization within the Public Service of Canada with a mandate to help anticipate emerging policy challenges and opportunities, explore new ideas, and experiment with methods and technologies to support resilient policy development.
Sounds very noble and benign, doesn't it? A group of professional policy wonks doing what they do best. Research, comparison and modeling using extrapolated data and solid prediction methods. Gathering the best and most reliable information to base future policy on. So why has nobody heard of them? Ask government, any government, and the answer will be the same. Truths are not always politically useful. In fact, truths are more likely than not to be politically inconvenient. This is why "Horizons" toils invisibly in the background of the system. To minimize real attention on their work by those pesky, interfering citizens. There is nothing preventing the government of the day from completely ignoring their reports, despite the facts within.
In March 2016, Horizons released a paper titled "Canada 2030 - Canada in a Changing Global Energy Landscape". This is less than 15 years away, and the findings are pretty straightforward to grasp. Fossil fuels are declining much faster than previously thought possible in the global energy mix. Canada is positioned to be a world leader in renewable and alternative energy generation and storage.
But what do we hear and see from governments? Pipelines like NGP, Energy East, TransMountain for declining value products with high volatility. Hydro power generation like Site C and Muskrat Falls that show declining demand and poor profitability long before they are on-line. Billions in annual subsidies to Big Oil because their business models don't work.
The facts are out there, yet governments choose to ignore them, at OUR peril. Why? It's time to ask.