Canada: Friend or Foe? Redux

Two years ago, my article Canada: Friend or Foe explained why environmentalists were campaigning to stop the development of Canada’s tar sands. Simply stated, it was because CO2 is emitted during the production of oil from tar sands.

Once again, we are on the verge of treating Canada as an enemy and not as a friend.

The Keystone pipeline is key to bringing over 800,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the oil refineries along the U. S. Gulf of Mexico.

One headline in a Canadian paper said: “Oil Price Discount costing each Canadian $1,2001.” This is an accusation that shouldn’t be discounted. Canada and the U. S. have been excellent trading partners for a century, and our policy about the Keystone pipeline could cause lasting damage.

A recent column in the National Post said: “The [inaugural] speech confirms that Mr. Obama’s re-election is bad news for Canada, first in terms of what Obama’s rigid statism and fiscal fecklessness may do to the U.S. economy, and then in terms of policies that specifically affect Canada, primarily on energy and climate.”

The State Department must approve the pipeline since it crosses an international border. The original scuffle was over the routing of the pipeline through Nebraska, but the Governor of Nebraska has recently approved the new routing for the pipeline that avoids sensitive areas. Now the State Department must act … which they say they will do in March, or shortly thereafter.

Environmental organizations are up in arms over the Keystone pipeline and believe that with Obama’s re-election, they hold the upper hand. The Sierra Club has threatened civil disobedience to prevent the construction of the pipeline.

Another environmentalist complained that building the pipeline would allow exporting of oil from the Gulf, when in fact it would allow refineries to produce products that would be exported. Jobs are created when refineries produce products for export.

Senator Kerry will be the new Secretary of State. He avoided answering questions during his confirmation about what he would do about the Keystone pipeline. Kerry has been a long time proponent of cutting CO2 emissions and tried to push greenhouse gas (GHG) legislation through Congress three years ago.

We can only hope that Kerry will set aside his views on climate change and approve the Keystone pipeline. If he doesn’t, it will be a blow to Canada’s economy and could elicit reprisals. We need Canada as a friend, not as an enemy.


Note 1: National Post, January 25, 2013. The article said oil export constraints were the cause, and these restraints would be largely lifted with the construction of the Keystone pipeline.


Read more of Donn’s columns at his blog, Power For USA.

Photo credit: jacob earl (Creative Commons)


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