We must protect ourselves with national energy policy

There is much in the media by governments and corporations about the economic advantage of Alberta oilsands oil, and where to sell it.

There is much in the media by governments and corporations about the economic advantage of Alberta oilsands oil, and where to sell it.

On Jan. 23, representatives of Red Deer chapter of the Council of Canadians met with Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen.

We asked questions about the lack of a Canadian national energy strategy.

While Canada can supply the total national energy needs by extending pipelines and refinery capacity across the country, giving security of supply and value-added opportunity, why does Canada east of the Great Lakes continue to depend on offshore foreign unsecured oil?

Canada has no plan to deal with an international oil shortage even though one is almost certain to hit soon.

Just think about it: if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, 40 per cent of ocean-bound oil will be shut in at one blow. Canadians, who face special conditions of long cold winters, would be immediately affected.

This country imports half its oil, and a growing portion comes from OPEC countries.

We are as dependent on Middle East oil as the U.S., yet have no plan to direct domestic oil to Canadians.

Canada is the only country in the 27-member International Energy Agency without strategic petroleum reserves.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s reply to Peter Mansbridge in a Jan. 16 interview reveals why Canada has no oil plan.

He doesn’t believe in one.

Mansbridge asked, “Does it not seem odd that we’re moving oil out of Western Canada to either U.S. or new markets to Asia when a good chunk of Canada itself doesn’t have domestic oil?”

Canada is the only International Energy Agency country that takes a pure corporate market stance.

The other 26 members treat oil as a security issue.

“Security trumps trade” — Hillary Clinton’s catchphrase after 9/11 — captures the oil issue well. It means government actions take precedence over markets to ensure that oil, the lifeblood of modern societies, flows uninterrupted.

Despite its oil abundance, Canada is the most insecure International Energy Agency member.

In place of Harper’s “laissez-faire, don’t-care” ideology, Canada would do well to copy the U.S. “energy security and energy independence” plan. Put Canadians first.

The International Energy Agency was set up in the 1970s to counteract the threat of the OPEC oil cartel to the industrial countries.

The Paris-based agency requires that all its members have strategic petroleum reserves to deal with international oil-supply crises.

It exempts net oil exporters on the assumption that its few members who are net oil exporters will supply their own people first, before exporting. Norway does this.

Canada does not.

Harper is abdicating his responsibility as prime minister and talks as if he is the CEO of an oil transnational. He says Iran scares him, but refuses to bring in a plan to protect Eastern Canadians when he states: “Let the market do it.”

Harper’s shirking of responsibility recklessly plays with Canadians’ economic and even physical security. Ambulances, hospitals and fire trucks don’t work without oil. Nor do the furnaces of people who heat their homes with oil, as half of Atlantic Canadians do.

CEOs of oil corporations must by law deliver profits to their shareholders. They are not charged with providing for people during international oil shortages.

That’s the responsibility of prime ministers.

When will Stephen Harper stop thinking as an oil CEO and start acting like he is prime minister of Canada?

Sam Denhaan

Red Deer

Just Posted

Red Deer record store celebrates its last Record Store Day

The Soundhouse, a guitar and record shop in downtown Red Deer, closes its doors next Saturday

WATCH: On 4—20 Day in Red Deer, marijuana users say legal weed a long time coming

Not wanting to wait for the federal government to legalize recreational marijuana,… Continue reading

Former Central Alberta MLA appealing fine for not protecting a list of 20,000 electors

List included names and addresses of voters in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre

Proposed Alberta legislation would protect consumers

Alberta Utilities Commission would be given power to penalize natural gas and electricity providers

Red Deer beginning two major construction projects

Ross Street’s 1935-era water main to be replaced and 67th Street roundabout landscaped

WATCH: Central Alberta bouldering competition

Central Alberta climbers looked to prove they’re the best at a competition… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer RCMP and Emergency Services play for Humboldt

Red Deer police officers and firefighters laced up their skates to raise… Continue reading

WATCH: Flooding closes portion of Red Deer’s 43 Street

A portion of 43 Street in Red Deer was closed Saturday morning… Continue reading

After air accidents, survivors grapple with flying again

Hundreds of hands grappling with oxygen masks. Flight attendants warning passengers to… Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth to attend pop concert for 92nd birthday

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth is marking her 92nd birthday with a Saturday… Continue reading

‘Such a great person:’ Funeral being held for assistant coach with Broncos

STRASBOURG, Sask. — Mark Cross was a ferocious competitor when he played… Continue reading

UPDATE: Missing Innisfail woman located

A 54-year-old Innisfail woman, who had not been seen since Wednesday, has… Continue reading

Hellebuyck makes 30 saves, Jets beat Wild in Game 5 to advance to Round 2

WINNIPEG — Bryan Little’s teammates were happy they could deliver something special… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month