I've never been one for "linkage" -- using one field of trade as leverage in an unconnected trade dispute. Like, say, tying energy exports to a resolution of the softwood lumber issue. For one thing, ownership of natural resources (with the exception of some offshore activity) is given under the Constitution to the provinces to do with it what they choose. It isn't Ottawa's oil; it's Alberta's.
Second, crippling the economy of our largest export market to try to win a small and relatively-unimportant battle would be a classic case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
But make no mistake, we could blow a big hole in US energy security if we chose:
Canada remained the largest exporter of total petroleum in November, exporting 2.326 million barrels per day to the United States, which is a decrease from last month (2.431 thousand barrels per day). The second largest exporter of total petroleum was Saudi Arabia with 1.686 million barrels per day.
In 2000, about 36 percent of total U.S. net energy imports came from Canada (27 percent) and Mexico (9 percent). Canada provided almost all United States net natural gas imports in 2000. These imports accounted for about 15 percent of U.S. gas consumption in 2000. U.S. net oil imports from Canada and Mexico accounted for about 26 percent of U.S. net oil imports, and about 15 percent of total U.S. oil consumption in 2000.
Or if you'd prefer a more visual reference (click here for full size, and the tab on top for crude oil stats):
Now, to be sure I am not misunderstood: I have no problem with selling oil and gas to the Americans. They are our neighbors and friends, and ultimately our biggest protectors.
On the other hand, if certain politicians want to pander to ignorance, it's useful to remind ourselves that we have other options. The Chinese pay on time and in full; and they'll buy up everything we can pump out of the ground (and then some). Nor do we have to listen to sanctimonious lectures from them.
"I would immediately have a trade timeout"..
"We will stop the kind of constant sniping at our protections for our workers that can come from foreign companies because they have the authority to try to sue to overturn what we do to keep our workers safe"
"I have said that I will renegotiate NAFTA"
"No, I will say we will opt out of NAFTA unless we renegotiate it, and we renegotiate on terms that are favorable to all of America"
Open it up, Mrs. Clinton, and you open up all of it, including the original FTA provisions guaranteeing US access to Canadian energy at the same prices Canadians pay.
We went through those (ferocious) arguments back in the '80s, and I've got no interest in reliving them, especially not in support of your political ambitions. As for your threats of extraterritoriality, you can jam them up the nearest convenient orifice. We don't need you -- or your corrupt union backers -- rewriting our laws.
"I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton's answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage"
There's more than one hammer on that table, rookie.
Via Canadian Blue Lemons