Macfarlane: Canada should “make it a national priority to ensure we have the capacity to export our energy products beyond the US, and specifically to Asia.” Agree?

By: /
February 6, 2012

Agree, with two key provisos. First, contrary to much of the rhetoric that followed President Obama’s decision to reject (delay) the Keystone XL pipeline, the decision is not an either/or proposition. Canada does not need to choose between exporting energy products to the US or to Asia. We can and should do both. Second, developing the capacity to export to Asian markets should not automatically override other concerns. Coastal communities in British Columbia, particularly Indigenous communities, have legitimate concerns about the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would see oil shipped by tanker off the BC coast. The ongoing environmental assessment process is crucial to ensuring decisions about building capacity are done from an evidence-based perspective. This process has already been subject to politicization, which is inevitable. But political and economic expediency must not be allowed to rule the day if the environmental risks prove too high.