Power to Choose

Publisher:  GATT-Fly, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1984  
Pages:  142pp   Price:  $5.59  
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX2899

Examines energy issues from the point of view of the majority of Canadians excluded from participation in the formation of energy policy, but who nevertheless suffer the consequences.

Abstract:  The purpose of Power To Choose is "to examine energy issues from the point of view of the majority of Canadians excluded from participation in the formation of energy policy, but who nevertheless suffer the consequences." The origin of the study lies in five years of work on energy issues carried out by GATT-fly, a church-based organization which does research and writing into economic life as it affects working people in Canada and the Third World. More immediately, the authors participated in an October consultation with representatives of the trade union movement, farm organizations, Native peoples' groups, churches and environmental groups; together these people explored the themes and perspectives that came to form the basis of Power To Choose.

The central theme of the book is the choice between the "corporate energy road" and an alternative "soft energy path". The former follows the initiatives of private and public corporations in pursuing priorities of profit and growth. Energy planning is based on large-scale, capital-intensive projects for the production and export of energy from mostly non-renewable resources. This system results in higher prices for energy, centralization of the industry, a high concentration of wealth and power, fewer jobs, environmental damage, and denial of aboriginal rights.

A soft energy path is characterized by "social control over investment at the local, provincial and national levels." This approach emphasizes conservation of non-renewable resources using technology accessible at local levels. This path promises a cleaner environment, more stable prices, safer working conditions, and more decentralized control over energy development.

Power To Choose examines both these options, and the political question of "how we might work together" to attain a soft energy plan for Canada.