Thursday, March 09, 2006

Energy exports to U.S. will shift balance of power in Canadian politics

The ascendancy of the west in the Canadian political economy is heavily weighted toward the development of oil & gas reserves. Energy exports to the United States will dictate a common interest between oil producing provinces and the American market. The value of energy exports is rapidly increasing, and the relative importance of energy in our balance of trade is growing. In 2001, energy products accounted for 13% of Canadian exports. Last year energy accounted for over 19% of exports. Indeed, the 16% gain in total exports to the United States recorded in December 2005 (vs December 2004) has much to do with the improved picture for the Canadian petro-economy.

This growing U.S. energy dependence on Canadian resources will eventually bring the interests of the oil-producing provinces into conflict with the political powers in the east. Federalist voices will be called upon to compromise the competing claims. This is a recurring battle in Canadian history, but the shear economic clout of the petro-economy of the west will force the federal government to accommodate the economic interests of the west. And those interests are tied to the United States.

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