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

Thousands of Albertans flock to Westerner Days on last day

Central Albertans took advantage of Sunday’s sunshine and flocked to Westerner Days… Continue reading

Former Humboldt Broncos player who survived bus crash hopes for spot on team

RED DEER, Alta. — A former Humboldt Broncos player whose back was… Continue reading

Man and dog dead after early morning house fire in Lethbridge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Officials say a man and a dog are dead… Continue reading

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

OTTAWA — The federal government is fighting a proposed class-action lawsuit against… Continue reading

May says Greens will work with any party that has a serious plan for the climate

OTTAWA — With three months until Canadians vote in the next federal… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

TORONTO — The names of the two people killed in a shooting… Continue reading

Relief in sight for southeastern Canada following weekend heat wave

MONTREAL — Relief is in sight for sweltering Canadians after a weekend… Continue reading

Trudeau’s former right-hand adviser playing role in Liberal election campaign

OTTAWA — With three months to go now until the election, the… Continue reading

Hotels face battle over whether to help US house migrants

DETROIT — There’s a new target in the clash over immigration: hotels.… Continue reading

Thousands visit Illinois governor mansion after renovations

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Thousands of people have visited the Illinois governor’s mansion… Continue reading

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

VANCOUVER — High school students in Canada may not be getting the… Continue reading

‘Us and them’: influence of Quebec anglos on decline with new Coalition government

MONTREAL — Last March, Quebec Premier Francois Legault made a mocking remark… Continue reading

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

VANCOUVER — Japanese Canadians across the country are meeting to discuss how… Continue reading

Most Read