Hope springs eternal. This in relation to yet another attempt to get stakeholders together to see if there is support and funding to establish a Canadian energy information organization.
The idea of establishing such an institution is not new. Dr. Robert Skinner of the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, brought forward such an initiative to federal, provincial and territorial governments over 10 years ago. However, in the mix of other pressing priorities it did not receive the necessary attention and was unsuccessful.
Further efforts have been made by Dr. Michal Moore at the same School (see links below) to articulate the need and structure of such an organization.
The need is there. More informed representatives among all stakeholder communities will facilitate better decision making, and maybe faster decision making as well. A key element is trust. We need to find a way for the major stakeholder groups to trust the information. This comes from patience and understanding and a lot of dialogue.
If we are to understand the issues we first need to understand each other. I am convinced that the different stakeholder communities are working from a sincere desire to do what’s right. That opens the door to building those relationships. If we have the trust between the stakeholder groups it makes it easier to agree on the facts.
In some cases, it is difficult to get to a fine level of detail regarding all the economic and environmental impacts of a particular energy issue. But if we have that trust built up, people will normally give others the benefit of the doubt. That means instead of going to the nth degree to absolutely prove a point based on exhaustive research, we can agree that sufficient high level facts are enough.
So if we are to succeed with a Canadian energy information organization, facts and trust go hand in hand.