Ottawa Welcomes Foreign Oil, Roadblocks Canadian Oil

Should Canada’s federal government make it easier for Canadians to buy foreign oil than Canadian oil?

It’s obvious what sensible Canadians would say, but new documents obtained by show that the federal government continues to roll out the red carpet for foreign oil while putting up roadblocks in front of domestic supply.

Consider that back in 2013, TransCanada (now called “TC”) proposed a $16 billion “Energy East” pipeline that would have transported oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to New Brunswick. Once constructed, Eastern Canadians could have purchased more Canadian oil, and therefore less foreign oil. At the same time, the pipeline would have enabled Canada to export more oil abroad. Needless to say, the project would have created billions in tax revenues and countless jobs right across the country (this clip shows an Ontario company discussing how they would have benefitted – click here).

Halfway through the National Energy Board’s expensive and exhaustive approval process for this project, they changed the rules. In 2017, the board famously announced that the proposed pipeline project would also have to go through an “upstream and downstream” emissions review. Proponents could see the writing on the wall – who changes the rules of the game at halftime? TC abandoned the project two months later

At the time, while working for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, I filed Access to Information requests with several federal departments to ask what kind of “upstream and downstream” emissions reviews they were conducting for foreign oil that is imported to Canada. Every department told me there were no such reviews.

More recently, we filed similar requests with Ottawa to see if anything had changed.

While we hadn’t had a chance to release the government’s response, I saw a video clip on Twitter featuring MP Mike Lake asking the government about this very issue – is foreign oil held to the same regulatory requirements?

With that in mind, it seems like a good time to release what we received:

Environment and Climate Change Canadaclick here.
Natural Resources Canada click here.

Colin Craig is the president of

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