Our 2024 Resolution: Continuing to Foster Balanced Conversations About Energy Transformation

by | January 2024

It’s a new year, and with it comes new opportunities. One of the biggest opportunities we see: discussion.

Balanced, constructive, discussion.

When we look back on 2023, one of the standouts to us is how big and important the energy transformation discussion has become. People of all ages, from many industries, across multiple geographies are participating, and we think that is great.

What we want to see more of in 2024, however, is a little more balance and an opportunity to hear everyone’s perspective.

We know this can be challenging because energy transformation is a complex topic that involves concerns about both climate change, as well as Canada’s economic growth and prosperity.

But if we are to reduce emissions while also ensuring Canada is prosperous, we’re going to have to all sit at the same table and talk about the best way to hit climate and prosperity goals, simultaneously.

Why are we talking about this now?

In the fall of 2023, a Leger survey commissioned by Canada Powered by Women (CPW) sought the opinions of engaged women across Canada on climate and energy transformation.

The survey findings revealed that while engaged women support reducing carbon emissions to address climate change, they are not willing to make trade-offs to achieve these reductions, which then affect their economic prosperity or standard of living.

We published the findings and shared them on Canada Powered by Women’s Facebook page, and commentary exploded on some of the content we promoted.

On one hand, commenters asked questions about the research and the discussion was respectful and engaging. Some that were initially skeptical responded favourably when factual information was provided.

On the other hand, we also saw a lot of very heated comments that shut down the opportunity for dialogue and hearing different perspectives.

In the focus groups we held in the spring of 2023, engaged women told us they fear repercussions for expressing their views. And when online, engaged women will withdraw from a discussion altogether if they feel attacked.

So the way we all talk about these issues needs to evolve in 2024.

Engaged women want dialogue, not confrontation

“We are confident that 2024 can be a year where diverse voices come together in a positive and constructive way to shape the future of our energy landscape,” says Canada Powered by Women CEO, Tracey Bodnarchuk.

“It is evident the kinds of issues we are discussing around energy, including economic prosperity and affordability, energy security and climate via emissions reduction, are emotional subjects. There is a lot at stake for everyone at a very personal level.”

But that makes the need for open, respectful and constructive dialogue all the more important, says Bodnarchuk.

Tracey Bodnarchuk

“Now, more than ever, women need to have safe spaces where they can express their opinion, no matter how unpopular it might be. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with everyone, but we need to have bold conversations that matter on difficult subjects, and we can’t be afraid of that.”

Bodnarchuk says last year’s research and the social media reaction have affirmed two key insights:

Many women really do want to engage in discussions on energy transformation, connecting the dots between their prosperity, the environment, and a thriving energy sector.

We need to create safe spaces — online, through research and in-person events — where women’s voices and unique insights on energy transformation are heard and respected.

In turn, these venues can help facilitate dialogue and debate, rather than arguments and attacks.

“Having accessible information or clarification can inform a situation or discussion and take the temperature down” notes Bodnarchuk.

“It’s healthy to have difficult conversations and then to decide to exit them when they are no longer productive, in social media or otherwise. Everyone deserves a safe space,” she continues, highlighting the importance of fostering an environment where women feel comfortable expressing their opinions, without fear of negative repercussions.

Canada Powered by Women

Calling for a new kind of conversation

We were founded with the goal of breaking through polarized narratives to find common ground and generate solutions that support both climate as well as economic prosperity.

Our mission is to create trusted spaces for women to participate in national energy transformation conversations so we can represent their voices in the public domain, and to share what engaged women believe with policymakers and government. Sound energy policy is only possible if engaged women are at the table, and we’re here to capture and share those voices in those conversations.

As we move forward into 2024, CPW’s commitment to research and amplifying the voices of women remains steadfast.

We invite everyone to join this transformative dialogue, emphasizing that all respectful voices are welcome.

“I appreciate women who have the courage to express their opinion constructively whether I agree with it or not,” says Bodnarchuk. “I can also learn from those who don’t think the same way I do.”

Our call to action for this year: Let’s make 2024 a year of meaningful, and impactful energy conversations — together.

Join Canada Powered by Women to have your say, and join a balanced conversation.