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There has been good, as well as disappointing, economic news for Canada in recent days.
On the positive side: All indications are that the impenetrable mysteries of the American political and regulatory process will finally overcome ecological hysteria and approve the transmission of oil from the Alberta oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico through the yet-to-be-completed Keystone XL pipeline.
It is nonsense, of course, that this project has been so long delayed, a fact that is due to the pitched, hand-to-hand combat necessary to win the heart and mind of the U.S. President and administration over to its national interest from tired environmental pieties. Apart from being good news in itself, it is good to have Canada on the side of the adults on such an issue.
This has been a more complicated process than it should have been, as the usual suspects, led by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, signed the inevitable petition against the oil sands. One more time we see the inadvisability of clergymen, like opinionated actors and legitimate cultural figures, meddling in matters they know nothing of.
How a South African Anglican minister and a Tibetan national religious leader in exile imagine this is any concern of theirs, or that they have any standing to express an opinion about it, fortunately has finally escaped the comprehension of those who have the responsibility to decide the issue.
One of the most outrageous blunders of Canadian provincial premiers in recent times was the attack on the oil sands by Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty and Quebec’s Jean Charest at the Copenhagen Environmental Conference in 2009. Elsewhere at the same misguided conference, Barack Obama padded around trying to raise a $100-billion annual slush fund paid for with advanced countries’ conscience money for the benefit of such worthies as Robert Mugabe and Hugo Chavez. Second prize to Obama for inanity at Copenhagen went to the Prince of Wales for his assertion that we had exactly 96 months to save the planet. McGuinty and Charest were just also-rans in a world-class competition, but they should be ashamed of their involvement nonetheless: No Canadian political leader should denounce another Canadian jurisdiction outside the country.
With oil at any price over $50 a barrel, Canada’s economically viable oil reserves are greater than Saudi Arabia’s and Canada could be reasonably relied upon not to lead an exploitive oil cartel, as Saudi Arabia has, raising oil prices to extort money from the West and Japan; rolling prices back only on the rare occasions when the United States made purposeful noises about emerging from its flaccid torpor and increasing domestic oil production and reducing demand for foreign oil. Fortunately, Canada has supplanted Saudi Arabia – soon by a margin of two million barrels per day to one million – as the largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States.
The promoters of the oil sands have played a brilliant and imaginative card with their advertisements for “ethical oil” – a campaign devised by Alykhan Velshi at EthicalOil.org and assisted by the pioneering Alberta journalist and television news network commentator Ezra Levant. Here were Canadians emerging from their customary reticence and saying it straight in a way that the United States, and the West generally, has failed to do.
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