Just a quick question for the Trudeau government about its current tiff with the Saudis: If you’re serious about standing up to Riyadh, how come you are stilling giving their oil a free pass? How come you have exempted it from your upcoming carbon tax and are not subjecting Saudi oil to the same environmental regulations you have imposed on Western Canadian oil?
It couldn’t be because most Saudi oil is destined for Quebec?
You’re supposed to be in a battle with the Saudis, yet an objective outside observer might think you’re at war with Alberta, instead.
There are a lot of questions that could be asked of the Liberals over the fight they started with the Saudis.
For instance, while there is no doubt the Saudis have overreacted (big time), there is equally no doubt Liberal cabinet minister Chrystia Freeland started this row by sending out a couple of self-righteous tweets last week criticizing the Saudis for recent arrests of human rights activists.
This was nothing more than moralistic grandstanding by the Liberals. They ignored proper diplomatic channels and don’t seem to have planned to follow-up their social media sanctimoniousness by having our diplomats in the kingdom file formal complaints.
The Liberals simply launched a couple of fire-and-forget missiles, with no thought of how the Saudis might react, just to prove to people in Canada how hip and high-minded they are. Changing the Saudi human rights policy was never their intention.
Freeland and the Liberals are right about the substance of their complaint. Saudi Arabia should release noted rights advocate Samar Badawi, who has been imprisoned for her political views. But if they really wanted Badawi freed, a pair of holier-than-thou tweets was never going to do it.
So one of the other questions the Liberals could be asked is: How are your thoughtless-bravado tweets any different from Donald Trump’s? Your tone might be more sophisticated than the U.S. President’s, but you both set off international incidents by not thinking before you message.
Still, the most important question is my first one: How come in the middle of a trade spat with the Saudis, Ottawa isn’t even imposing the same taxes and regulations on Saudi oil that it imposes on Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland oil?
It looks as if, a) the Liberal government isn’t serious about standing up to the Saudis and b) they aren’t serious about their own campaign to reduce emissions and save the planet.
Canada produces about 3.8 million barrels of oil a day. We consume about 1.8 million or 1.9 million, but we export around 2.7 million barrels a day.
Most days that leaves us about 700,000 or 800,000 barrels short, an amount we have to import from the U.S., the Saudis, Nigeria and a handful of other countries.
We have more than enough capacity to supply all our own domestic needs and still export nearly 3.0 million barrels a day. What we lack are pipelines that would enable us to get Canadian oil to Quebec and the Maritimes.
That leaves us dependent on Saudi oil even when we have a valid diplomatic point to make.
The second part, though, is perhaps an even bigger puzzle: If the Liberals are so intent on cutting Canadians’ emissions by imposing a new carbon tax and by creating impossible new environmental standards for the approval of new pipelines, how come they let foreign oil enter the country without subjecting it to the same “green” taxes or the same environmental screening processes?
Keep in mind, too, that Liberals let millions of tonnes of American coal come into Canada for export to the rest of the world without imposing a carbon tax, either.