Not enough Canadians know how important the oilsands are – by Philip Cross (Financial Post – April 30, 2021)

The boreal footprint of the oilsands is less than 10 per cent of the 11,000
square kilometres Quebec flooded to build its hydro power. Yet Quebec
politicians ritually denounce Alberta’s “dirty oil” while ignoring the environmental damage of their own self-styled “clean hydro.”

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has just released a paper of mine on the oilsands and Canada’s economy. Many Canadians outside the prairie provinces have trouble understanding — or accepting — that Alberta’s oilsands are still enormously important to our economy.

The $8.3 billion of new investment in the oilsands last year represented 4.5 per cent of all Canada’s business investment in 2020 and was four times the capital spending undertaken by the auto manufacturers whom eastern-Canadian politicians continue to lionize and subsidize.

The oilsands now dominate Canada’s crude oil production, with 70 per cent of total output, and the recent investments mean production will continue to grow.

Most is destined for the U.S. market. While U.S. oil imports have fallen sharply as domestic shale-oil output has expanded, demand for Canadian oil has risen steadily because of declining supplies of heavy oil from Mexico and Venezuela, as well as the lower price Americans pay for our oil.

Oilsands production and investment have different impacts on Canada’s economy.

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