2019/20 The Donner Prize — Winner

Is a national consensus on hydrocarbon development possible?

The ongoing debate in Canada over the extraction of hydrocarbon resources and their transportation to markets exemplifies the country’s political polarization. Breakdown explores these tensions through economic, environmental, and political perspectives.

The Trudeau Liberals and Alberta’s one-term NDP government attempted to find a compromise that satisfies the concerns of British Columbia, Canada’s First Nations, and environmentalists. But they still could not break the impasse on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. With new players now at the table, can Canada find a reasonable path forward?


The Donner Prize


Breakdown addresses arguably one of the most contentious and consequential sets of policy issues facing Canada today – the nexus of resource development, climate change, Indigenous rights and Alberta alienation. It presents the history of four pipeline projects and overlays the political decisions that have resulted in many projects not being supported or being delayed significantly. McConaghy outlines several pragmatic strategies that can be used to reduce or remove the bottleneck to move large infrastructure projects forward (or create earlier certainty that they should not) so that investment (domestic and foreign) will be attracted to Canada.

The Donner Prize jury citation

About the Authors

Dennis McConaghy

Posted by Kendra on June 7, 2016
Dennis McConaghy photo

Dennis McConaghy

Dennis McConaghy is a Canadian energy executive who has nearly forty years of industry experience in infrastructure development and is the author of Dysfunction: Canada after Keystone XL. He lives in Calgary.

Deborah Yedlin

Posted by Kendra on June 25, 2019

Deborah Yedlin

As a journalist writing for the Calgary Herald, the Globe and Mail, and the CBC, Deborah Yedlin has been a pre-eminent commentator for the better part of twenty years on the nexus of business and politics in Canada.