Minister denies threat to walk away from deal over oilsands

OTTAWA — The federal government is seeking to overcome a potential stumbling block to a free trade deal with the European Union by moving EU objections to the oilsands off the table.

OTTAWA — The federal government is seeking to overcome a potential stumbling block to a free trade deal with the European Union by moving EU objections to the oilsands off the table.

Trade Minister Peter Van Loan says the issue of oilsands fuel exports is being discussed outside the main talks, which Ottawa hopes to wrap up by year’s end.

Responding to a Reuters report out of Brussels that Canada has threatened to scrap the deal if the EU goes ahead with plans to bar oil imports that originate from the oilsands, Van Loan said the issue is being treated separately.

“Canada and the European Union are working to resolve this issue outside of the negotiations towards a free trade deal,” he said in an email response.

The minister acknowledged, however, that the issue is of concern to Canada.

Van Loan was not available for an interview, his spokesperson said in forwarding the email response.

The EU has proposed changes to a fuel quality directive aimed at reducing emissions from transport fuels by 10 per cent in the next decade, which could potentially lead to treating the oilsands differently from conventional oil.

In a preliminary weighting of the carbon footprint of fuels, Europe has judged petrol from conventional oil to have a value of 85.8g of carbon dioxide per megajoule of fuel, whereas oilsands oil would be measured at 107g.

Trade lawyer Steven Shrybman says Canada does not export oil to Europe, but the EU still sees it as an important issue because it wants any trade agreement it signs to comply with international environmental agreements.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Coordination Center of the Russian Government in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. The centre was set up as a line of communication with the whole of Russia for analysing and collecting information, promptly using big data and solving arising problems. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Months after hack, US poised to announce sanctions on Russia

First retaliatory action against the Kremlin for last year’s hack

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Canada negotiating contracts to secure COVID-19 booster shots for next year: Anand

Vaccine suppliers already testing new versions against variants

opinion
Opinion: Waiting 4 months between vaccine doses too long

“It’s not just a matter of potency, it’s a matter of the… Continue reading

Richie Laryea of Toronto FC, left, and Jean Meneses of Mexico's Leon battle for the ball during a CONCACAF Champions League soccer match in Leon, Mexico, in Leon, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Toronto FC hosts Club Leon in the second leg of their Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League round-of-16 tie holding a valuable away goal after a 1-1 draw last week in Mexico. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mario Armas
Injury-riddled Toronto FC dispatches Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play

Injury-riddled Toronto FC dispatches Club Leon in CONCACAF Champions League play

Winnipeg Jets' Dylan DeMelo (2) skates the puck around Ottawa Senators' Thomas Chabot (72) as he holds off Winnipeg Jets' Mason Appleton (22) during first-period NHL action in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Winnipeg Jets score two third-period goals to secure 3-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

Winnipeg Jets score two third-period goals to secure 3-2 victory over Ottawa Senators

Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) shoots over San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

Anunoby, Siakam rally Raptors past Spurs 117-112

John Furlong pitches a broader B.C. bid for 2030 Winter Games

John Furlong pitches a broader B.C. bid for 2030 Winter Games

New York Yankees starting pitcher Corey Kluber throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Bichette hits 2nd homer in 9th, Blue Jays beat Yankees 5-4

Bichette hits 2nd homer in 9th, Blue Jays beat Yankees 5-4

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Luguentz Dort (5) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz forward Jarrell Brantley (5) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Salt Lake City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Rick Bowmer
Undrafted Montreal native Dort continues to smash “glass ceilings” in NBA

Undrafted Montreal native Dort continues to smash “glass ceilings” in NBA

A man wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks past banners for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, to mark 100 days before the start of the Summer Games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Eugene Hoshiko
Rings on the Horizon: Tokyo Summer Olympics hit 100 days out marker

Rings on the Horizon: Tokyo Summer Olympics hit 100 days out marker

Most Read