Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Get Canada's Oil to Market

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Get Canada's Oil to Market

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Get Canada's oil to market

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An editorial from the Waterloo Region Record, published Feb. 15:

As rich as Canada is, it would be richer still if it could get more of its oil to market. Its glaring inability to do so -- because of inadequate pipeline infrastructure -- cost the national economy $19 billion last year alone, or the equivalent of $1,200 for every Canadian, the CIBC reports.

And while this may be a source of glee for those who denounce the indisputable environmental harm caused by Alberta's oilsands, it should, in fact, worry them and us all. That $19 billion could have done a lot of good, whether in boosting private sector jobs or giving governments cash to build roads, hospitals and schools. And unless something is done soon, similar revenues will be lost every year -- for years to come.

The failure of Canada, which boasts the world's third largest proven oil reserves, to sell more of such a valuable and sought-after commodity is a national embarrassment. It is also one of the most urgent challenges facing not only the federal government but the entire federation. And after American President Barack Obama's state of the union speech this week, the challenge became even harder to meet.

According to David Jacobsen, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, Obama's message about the need to fight climate change goes for Canada, too. The ambassador did not explicitly say Obama would approve the Keystone XL pipeline to carry Alberta oil across the border only if Canada does more to limit greenhouse gas emissions and protect the waterways around the oilsands. But read between the lines and you'll see that's the president's warning.

The Conservative government has worked hard to earn a reputation for being a wise and capable manager of the economy. Forging new trade connections with Asia and Europe has been a long-standing goal. Getting Canadian oil to market must now be an even greater priority.

Considering how much pollution comes out of the United States, and considering a similar threat has not been sent to the world's biggest greenhouse gas polluters, the Chinese, the messages from Obama and Jacobsen are galling. …

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