In 2014, a jaw-dropping story was published in the New York Times: the American middle class, for decades the wealthiest on Earth, had lost its crown.
And whose middle class had shot ahead of the Americans? Canada’s did.
Several factors have been attributed to this impressive development. Part of it was a significant rise in womens’ employment. Part of it was rising housing prices. And part of it was a sharp rise in the price of a barrel of oil between the mid-2000s and mid-2010.
It demonstrates a central fact: the connection between Canadian oil exports and the strength of the Canadian middle class.
The Trudeau government has rightfully made a healthy and growing middle class one of his priorities. And no wonder: a healthy middle class is key to the economic success of any country. A healthy Canadian oil industry means a healthy middle class. The jobs in our energy industry are good, well-paying, unionized jobs. They’re the kind of jobs that offer pensions, protections, rising incomes, and plenty of opportunities.
If Justin Trudeau’s top priority is building a stronger middle class, a stronger Canadian oil sector is vital—and a stronger Canadian oil sector will depend on building more pipelines. Those pipelines allow companies to sell oil at world prices, far better prices than we get when exclusively selling to the Americans. The result will be more union jobs, better pay, and a healthier middle class. Canada deserves nothing less.