And Chaos Whence? Canadian Energy Politics, 1973-1984

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Kemp, Alex
Canadian History , Oil Crisis , Energy Crisis , Forecasting , Uncertainty
This thesis investigates the impact of the 1973 oil shock, its sequel in 1979, and the counter-shock of the mid-1980s on Canada’s socio-economy. Over a decade of uncertainty, beginning when members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries rapidly increased the price of oil in the autumn of 1973, challenged the federal government’s ability to understand novel socioeconomic conditions and implement remedial policies. Chapter one examines socioeconomic projections developed in the early 1970s and offers an explanation as to how years of tranquility in global energy markets framed projections and decision-making. Chapter two reviews publications by various branches of the federal government to reveal the difficulty of reconciling political, economic, energy, and environmental concerns against the backdrop of global political and economic volatility. Chapter three examines the National Energy Program of 1980 that was partly premised on the global price of oil continuing to increase and capturing this windfall to fund various federal programs, only for the price of oil to rapidly deteriorate shortly after the program’s implementation. This thesis uses these cases to reflect upon how uncertainty is generated and the role of socioeconomic beliefs in shaping decision-making within a complex environment.
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