New documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show the federal government requires Canadian oil to meet a higher environmental standard than oil that is imported into Canada.
How absurd is that? By putting up a big roadblock in front of Canadian oil companies, the federal government has lost out on billions of tax dollars, killed thousands of jobs and hurt businesses across Canada that sell goods and services to Canada’s energy sector.
Recall that Canadian pipeline company TransCanada wanted to build a pipeline from western Canada to eastern Canada.
The project would have offset some of the 600,000 barrels of oil that eastern Canada imports each day from foreign countries.
The project would have also contributed billions in tax dollars — not just to the Alberta government, but the federal government as well.
The latter could have used the money to pay for health care and other services across Canada.
Instead, the project ran into a federal government barrier.
After TransCanada spent over $1 billion on planning the project and trying to secure approval from the federal government, the Trudeau government changed the approval process.
Suddenly the feds thought the project should also go through an “upstream and downstream” emissions review.
In other words, the federal government wanted to look at emissions during the production of the oil and when it is used in cars, trucks and other end-use purposes.
With that in mind, we asked the federal government if foreign oil would be subject to the same type of review. If Ottawa is concerned about emissions from Canadian oil then surely it would also be concerned about emissions from oil that is imported to Canada … right?
Incredibly, the federal government’s Environment and Climate Change department responded to our Access to Information request by indicating that they conducted a “thorough search” for such an emissions review for foreign oil but didn’t find anything.
We also asked Natural Resources Canada, the Department of Global Affairs and Transport Canada for the same information.
They too informed us they had no such reports. Thus, Ottawa requires Canadian oil to meet a higher standard than oil that is imported to Canada from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Algeria and other countries.
Now consider how Canada’s situation compares with what’s happening south of the border. Last June, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, said: “An energy dominant America means self-reliant.
It means a secure nation, free from the geopolitical turmoil of other nations who seek to use energy as an economic weapon.
An energy dominant America will export to markets around the world, increasing our global leadership and our influence.”
If you think that bold position is too aggressive for Canada, consider an environmental benefit of energy independence.
The Canadian Energy Research Institute calculated that if Canada replaced foreign oil imports with Canadian oil, carbon dioxide emissions would decrease 6.2%.
This makes sense. Of course it’s more environmentally friendly to send oil from Alberta to Ontario than it is to import it all the way from Algeria.
If this column has left you ‘fuming’ mad, don’t worry, it should.
No matter how you cut it, the federal government has made a colossal mistake.
Colin Craig is the Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
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