There are two sides to energy security: consumption and production. Consumers are looking for stable producers, while producers seek long-term consumers. When Preston Manning (Strike a new partnership to achieve sustainable continental energy security, 11 February) and Pierre Alvarez (Energy security calls for a continental vision, 16 February) talk of continental energy security, they are referring to both: the United States as the consumer and Canada as the producer. Little thought appears to be given to Canada’s need for energy security as an energy consumer.
Although imported energy can be secure, much of eastern Canada relies almost exclusively on imported oil and other energy products from countries or regions that have experienced political problems (such as Colombia, Venezuela, and the Middle East) or are having production problems (notably the U.K. sector of the North Sea). Before promoting additional exports of Canadian energy to help the United States improve its energy security, advocates of continental energy security should explain how energy security can be improved for Canadian consumers.
Published, Globe and Mail, 17 February 2009