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About the Conference

Canada is at a pivotal moment on energy and climate: there is far greater consensus about the need to reduce emissions, and there are myriad opportunities for Canadian energy of all types in domestic and international markets. Much energy and climate progress has been made, but there is much to be done to move successfully from the ‘what’ to the ‘how’ of emissions reductions.

This conference highlighted key obstacles and challenges Canada needs to address in its emissions reductions efforts. Drawing on Positive Energy’s research and engagement over the last three years, the event will identify concrete actions and solution-focused recommendations in four challenge areas: 

  • Getting infrastructure financed, permitted and built, and technology developed and deployed
  • Ensuring energy is affordable and reliable
  • Building consensus among the public and experts for Canada’s energy and climate future
  • Fostering intergovernmental collaboration and navigating partisan polarization

Conference Agenda

Opening remarks and Indigenous welcome

  • Indigenous Welcome by Claudette Commanda, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
  • Welcome Words by uOttawa Associate Vice President, Research Promotion and Development, Martine Lagacé

Canada’s Net Zero Journey: Building a More Complete Roadmap

Review of Positive Energy's findings over the last three years, obstacles on the road ahead and setting stage for the day, followed by a moderated discussion.

  • Michael Cleland, Positive Energy Executive-in-Residence (Moderator)
  • Professor Monica Gattinger, Positive Energy Chair
  • Robert Samek, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Session 1: Getting infrastructure financed, permitted, and technology developed and deployed

The success of Canada’s net zero journey hinges on private sector investment to finance and build an unprecedented amount of major infrastructure projects in record time. Business investment is also needed to rapidly develop and deploy innovations that reduce emissions. Unfortunately, Canada’s policy and regulatory frameworks don’t always inspire investor confidence, with areas like impact assessment lacking clarity, certainty and predictability. Canada’s net zero success also hinges on developing robust partnerships with Indigenous communities on infrastructure projects. Yet the time needed to build trusted relationships and mutually advantageous projects can run up hard against the urgency of reducing emissions. How can Canada do better on both of these fronts? How do we design more supportive policy and regulatory systems? How do we braid different types of knowledge into decision-making? What is the place of ESG and Indigenous-led standards development in these efforts?

  • Professor Monica Gattinger, Positive Energy Chair (Moderator)
  • Michael Cleland, Positive Energy Executive-in-Residence
  • Sheldon Wuttunee, President/CEO, Saskatchewan First Nations Natural Resource Centre of Excellence
  • Goldy Hyder, CEO, Business Council of Canada

Session 2: Keeping the lights on and energy affordable – energy security on the road to net zero

Reliable, affordable energy is often overlooked in debates, planning and policy toward net zero. Yet it will be crucial to secure and maintain political support for emissions reductions. It will also be needed to foster business confidence, investment, competitiveness and growth. Recent crises in British gas and power markets offer a cautionary tale of what can happen when decision-makers don’t pay sufficient attention to cost and reliability in their efforts to reduce emissions. The war in Ukraine underscores the importance of reliable suppliers of energy and the interconnectedness of global energy markets. What can we learn from these experiences? What is Canada doing to ensure energy is reliable and affordable on the road to net zero? What more needs to be done?

  • Michael Cleland, Positive Energy Executive-in-Residence (Moderator)
  • Kathryn Porter, Principal, Watt-Logic, United Kingdom
  • Emilly Renaud, National Coordinator, Canada Without Poverty
  • Debbie Scharf, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Energy Systems Sector, Natural Resources Canada

Luncheon Keynotes

  • Susannah Pierce, Country Chair, Shell Canada
  • Nik Nanos, Chair and CEO, Nanos Research

Session 3: Building consensus and support among the public and experts for Canada’s energy and climate future – finding socially viable pathways to net zero

Energy and climate change can be divisive issues for the public and experts. Canadians are rarely outright polarized on the issues, but they often hold different views over Canada’s energy and climate future. Energy and environmental leaders, for their part can be divided on the issues, occupying two different ‘realities’ or ‘worldviews’ on energy transition that talk past one another. But ongoing public and expert support for Canada’s net zero journey is critical – without it, political resolve to reduce emissions and pursue energy and economic opportunities will whither. How do we build socially viable pathways to net zero? Is it possible to build bridges and consensus or are there limits to consensus-building? How much do information and ‘the facts’ change minds? What consensus-building processes has Canada attempted and what can we learn from them? What more needs to be done?

  • Professor Monica Gattinger, Positive Energy Chair (Moderator)
  • Dr. Marisa Beck, Positive Energy Research Director
  • Ed Whittingham, Co-Creator and Co-Host, Energy vs Climate Webinar and Podcast Series (former Executive Director, Pembina Institute)
  • JP Gladu, Principal, Mokwateh
  • Nik Nanos, Chair and CEO, Nanos Research

Afternoon Keynotes

  • The Honourable Dale Nally, Associate Minister for Natural Gas & Electricity, Alberta Energy
  • Chief Sharleen Gale, Chair, First Nations Major Projects Coalition, Chief, Fort Nelson First Nation

Session 4: Partisan polarization and intergovernmental collaboration: finding politically viable pathways

Reducing emissions and realizing Canada’s energy and economic potential requires unprecedented collaboration among governments. It also requires forging a national consensus on the path forward for energy and climate for the country. And yet, federal and provincial governments often struggle to collaborate with one another and with Indigenous governments. In addition, energy and climate are often used as wedge issues that sow division and polarization along partisan political lines. What’s it going to take for Canada to overcome these obstacles? What can we learn from efforts to strengthen inter-governmental collaboration and foster cross partisan alignment on energy and climate? How do we ensure pathways for Canada’s net zero future are not only technically feasible but politically viable as well?

  • Michael Cleland, Positive Energy Executive-in-Residence (Moderator)
  • Brendan Frank, Senior Consultant, Innovative Research Group (former Senior Research Associate, ISSP)
  • The Hon. Lisa Raitt, Vice-Chair of Global Investment Banking, CIBC, Co-Chair, Coalition for a Better Future
  • The Hon. Anne McLellan, Senior Advisor, Bennett Jones, Co-Chair, Coalition for a Better Future
  • Chief Sharleen Gale, Chair, First Nations Major Projects Coalition, Chief Fort Nelson First Nation

Rapporteur's Remarks & Conference Closing

  • Professor Monica Gattinger, Positive Energy Chair
  • Serge Dupont, Senior Advisor, Bennett Jones
Monica Gattinger

Monica Gattinger

Conference chair and moderator

Positive Energy Chair

Michael Cleland

Michael Cleland

​​​​​​​Conference moderator

Positive Energy Executive-in-Residence

Serge Dupont

Serge Dupont

Conference rapporteur

Senior Advisor, Bennett Jones

Date and time
Jun 15, 2022
All day
Format and location
Faculty of Social Sciences; 120 University Private; Room 4007; Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5
Organized by

Contact us

Positive Energy

Institute for Science, Society and Policy

120 University Private
Social Sciences Building
15th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5

Tel.: 613-562-5800, ext. 3911
[email protected]