PM brands Canada an 'energy superpower'

Prime Minister Harper has fallen into the trap of believing that because Canada is one of the world's few remaining net energy exporting countries, it is an "energy superpower" (PM brands Canada an 'energy superpower', Globe and Mail, 15 July). Admittedly, when looking at national statistics, Canada is undoubtedly a major exporter of energy (almost exclusively to the United States); however, at the regional or provincial level, this is not necessarily the case.

In Atlantic Canada, almost all of the energy from megaprojects such as Churchill Falls (hydroelectric), Hibernia (crude oil), and Sable (natural gas), is exported, either to neighbouring provinces or the United States. Despite these energy riches, most of the demand in Atlantic Canada is met from imported coal (for electricity) and imported oil products (for transportation, heating, and electricity).

In a time of rising world energy prices, declining energy stocks, and suppliers that are willing to cut off supplies with little notice, Mr. Harper should ensure that his "energy superpower" meets the energy security needs of Canadians before those of his major client.

Published 17 July 2006 - Globe and Mail