Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category


Monday, March 11th, 2013


A Chinese oil company this month bought a small but significant player in the Canadian oil sands, the third-largest deposit of accessible oil in the world and the source of more than a quarter of U.S. oil imports. The sale of Nexen Inc. to the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company for $15.1 billion was the largest Chinese overseas acquisition ever and continues a patient, strategic Chinese campaign to secure energy assets in North America.

Also this month, the U.S. State Department issued its latest environmental report card on the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring more of that oil-sands crude from Canada to Nebraska and on to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Americans have a love-hate relationship with Canadian oil, as thousands of anti-Keystone demonstrators in Washington recently reaffirmed. The Chinese are clearly not so conflicted.

What these events made obvious is that if people think Canadian oil will stay in the ground if we just don’t build Keystone XL, they are wrong.

National oil companies like CNOOC, which is 70 percent owned by the People’s Republic of China, already control more than 80 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Of the 20 percent that remain open to market-based development, 60 percent are in Canada, almost all in the oil sands region of Alberta.

That fact has not escaped the attention of China, whose rapid growth has been fueled by quantum leaps in oil consumption.

Until 1993, China was self-sufficient in oil. Today it has to import almost 60 percent of the oil it consumes, and it is the world’s second-largest oil user after the United States. By 2035, the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects China to import 75 percent of its oil needs.

This voracious thirst for petroleum has driven the Chinese to sign long-term oil contracts with countries such as Venezuela, another traditional U.S. oil supplier, and aggressively explore opportunities in energy-rich and investment-friendly Canada.

As one Canadian energy executive who has worked closely with Chinese oil companies explained, China has piles of cash locked in U.S. treasury notes that it regards as declining assets. Investing this cash in energy resources abroad is a no-brainer, both for their intrinsic value and for the technological expertise Chinese companies can gain. (more…)



Thursday, October 4th, 2012


The Wall Street Journal

  • October 2, 2012

Out of Guantanamo and Into a Canadian Prison

On Saturday, Omar Khadr, al Qaeda member and killer of a U.S. serviceman, headed north to a civilian prison.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  Guantanamo Bay guards told Dr. Welner that Khadr was treated like a “rock star” by other detainees. That rock star may one day be touring the Canadian mosque circuit—just like his father did before him.

Two years ago this month, a Guantanamo Bay military jury sentenced a Canadian-born al Qaeda terrorist to 40 years in prison. Omar Khadr was convicted of war crimes in Afghanistan, including the killing, during an ambush, of a 28-year-old U.S. Special Forces medic named Christopher Speer, the father of two young children.

But what the jury didn’t know was that, even as they were deliberating the charges of “murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder in violation of the law of war, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and spying,” Pentagon prosecutors had already struck a plea-bargain deal with Khadr, at the direction of Obama administration officials.

No public explanation for the deal has ever been given. But regardless of what the jury decided, Khadr would receive a sentence of just eight years. And he would have to serve only a single year of that sentence in U.S. custody before applying, with Washington’s blessing, to transfer to Canada. The application process took time, but eventually was complete.

So on Saturday morning, Khadr was flown from the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay to a Canadian air force base in Trenton, Ontario, and then driven to a civilian prison an hour away. His lawyers are reportedly likely to press for his parole next year.


Associated Press/Janet HamlinOmar Khadr as sketched in court, 2010.

Canada’s minister of public safety, Vic Toews, was reluctant to approve the transfer and had requested more information from the Pentagon about Khadr’s dangerousness. According to stories in the Toronto Star over the weekend, Mr. Toews’s hesitancy had incensed senior Obama administration officials, who had warned that a refusal to take Khadr would jeopardize Canada-U.S. relations. (more…)



Saturday, August 25th, 2012


The Wall Street Journal

  • August 243, 2012

Romney’s Energy Play

The political illusion of ‘independence,’ but the reforms are on the mark.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:   Fracking and other development is now surging on state and private property, but federal acres open for leasing and exploration have fallen 18% since 2008. The rate of permitting has slowed by 37%; it takes 307 days on average to get a drilling permit. North Dakota does it in a week and a half, Ohio in two.

Mr. Romney would also streamline the larger federal regulatory state, which takes seven years to approve a major energy project when it does it at all. Think: Keystone XL pipeline. In 2010, the Chamber of Commerce identified 351 projects delayed or rejected by the feds that would have created more than a million jobs and added $3.4 trillion to growth over time.

It appears that Mitt Romney wants to join every President since Richard Nixon who has declared the goal of American “energy independence” and then never delivered. With the exception of that patently political soundbite, the energy plan that the GOP candidate rolled out Thursday is an unusually sane document, in contrast to the fad-obsessed tradition of the last 40 years.

The asterisk on the Romney goal of energy independence by 2020 is that he refers to North America, which if you include Canada and Mexico is the fastest-growing energy production region in the world.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that over the next 25 years, and even as oil consumption rises, net U.S. imports will fall to 36% from 49% today, two-thirds of this “foreign oil” coming from Canada and Mexico. The U.S. will also become a net gas exporter from an importer today.


Zuma Press

The reasons include rising domestic production as a result of the hydraulic-fracturing boom and improving energy intensity (how much energy it takes to generate a dollar of growth). The dividends are paid in more energy security: a durable and reliable world market that can meet demand through competitive prices. “Independence”—the proper term for a closed economy that doesn’t trade in energy would be autarky—is a mirage. (more…)



Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

May 14, 2012

By Warren Beatty

Will Obama learn from Sweden?  Will he learn from Canada?  Or will he cling to the European socialist economic model that is currently failing?


Anders Borg, Sweden’s finance minister, reduced Sweden’s deficit and created economic growth.  There is one thing that Borg did: “Since becoming Sweden’s finance minister, Borg reduced the size of government and cut taxes.  His ‘stimulus’ was a permanent tax cut.”


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that Forbes magazine selected Canada as the No. 1 country in the world in which to do businessForbes stated, “Credit a reformed tax structure.”  On New Year’s Day, 2012, Canada’s corporate tax rate — both federal and provincial rates combined — fell to 25%, giving Canada the lowest rate in the Group of Seven countries and a more competitive economy on a global basis.  In annual steps, Canada lowered the federal rate from 22% to 15%, while the provinces now have a common rate of 10%.  The gradual lowering of the corporate tax rate appears to have resulted in little loss in corporate tax revenue.

Between 1992 and 1996, Canada’s central government departments saw their budgets cut by an average of 20%.  Aware that efficiency savings and pay freezes alone would be insufficient, the prime minister Jean Chrétien (Canadian PM from November 1993 until December 2003) ordered that all non-essential national government spending be cut.  Under a system called Program Review, a committee of senior civil servants demanded that all departments nominate spending programs that a lean national government should not be funding.

Canada, in April 2012, added far more jobs than expected and marked the biggest two-month employment gain in more than 30 years.  With a Canadian population one-ninth the size of that of the United States, it would be as if the U.S. economy had added about 1.3 million jobs in two months.  Economists say the Canadian unemployment rate would be 6.4% if reported in the way the U.S. calculates its rate.  The Canadian economy has recovered all the output and jobs, including full-time positions, that it lost in the 2008-09 recession.

Now let’s look at what has not/is not working in what is increasingly becoming socialist Europe — namely, the European Union (EU); its (mostly rejected) austerity program; and France, Greece, and Spain.

European Union and austerity

In place of austerity, there is a growing belief that there may be some magical, pain-free way out of this economic crisis, but this is an illusion.  Resolving the eurozone crisis depends upon the continuing willingness of Germany to bail out irresponsible economies.  But why should Germans continue to write checks for people who are not prepared to accept the consequences of their own fiscal irresponsibility? (more…)



Tuesday, February 28th, 2012



Monday, January 16th, 2012

The revelation that an L.A. arson suspect entered the U.S. after losing an asylum bid in Canada has focused attention on stringent policies that could force more immigrants to seek refuge in the U.S.

Douglas Boarder Crossing in CanadaThe Douglas border crossing in Canada, near Washington state. (Richard Lam, Canadian Press / January 15, 2012)

By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times January 14, 2012,
Reporting from Vancouver, Canada—

For years, Canada has had one of the most generous immigration policies in the world, welcoming tens of thousands of asylum applicants who claim to be fleeing persecution in their homelands.

But Canada’s Conservative government has begun rolling up the welcome mat, stepping up efforts to track down and deport thousands of asylum-seekers whose applications have been denied.

The clampdown is likely to be felt not only across Canada, but in the United States.

Fresh from the revelation that Los Angeles arson suspect Harry Burkhart traveled to the U.S. from Vancouver after losing his nearly three-year bid for refugee status, immigration analysts here warn that the United States could become a new destination for thousands of asylum applicants soon to be pushed out of the pipeline in Canada.

“This is about to become a staging inventory for potential illicit entry into the United States,” said Richard Kurland, an immigration policy analyst and attorney in Vancouver. (more…)



Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Published on The Weekly Standard (

He Can’t Help Himself

Obama would rather pander than win.

Fred Barnes

August 1, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 43

The path to ratification by Congress was greased after President Obama renegotiated trade treaties with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Obama would supply Democratic votes.  Republicans were already on board, President Bush having put together the treaties in the first place. It had the look of a done deal.

It wasn’t. In May, the White House suddenly insisted the treaties be accompanied by roughly $1 billion in Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA as it’s known in Washington. Organized labor was demanding TAA funds be set aside for workers whose jobs might be lost as a result of the treaties. Obama took up the cause.

That wasn’t the last of labor’s demands. A month ago, labor officials said TAA had to be part of the trade agreements themselves. Again, Obama went along. This was unprecedented. Spending legislation had never been included in trade bills. Republican support instantly collapsed. It took the intervention of Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and a few other Republicans to get things back on track by stripping TAA from the treaties. Separate votes on the three pacts and TAA are likely in September. But don’t hold your breath.

There’s a pattern here that’s become emblematic of the Obama presidency. A mark of a strong president is the capability to act decisively in his own behalf, especially when his political interest coincides with the country’s. Obama lacks that trait. More often than not, he’s indecisive, particularly when liberal special interests exert pressure on him. (more…)



Tuesday, July 26th, 2011



Friday, July 22nd, 2011
The Wall Street Journal

  • JULY 21, 2011

Liberals up there listened to voters, and their economy is now growing faster than ours.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:As America struggles over spending and debt, Canadians watch with wonderment. A new book, “The Canadian Century: Moving Out of America’s Shadow,” points to a role reversal—a strong Canada and a weak America.

In the foreword, former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Allan Gottleib writes: “If we want to see what would have become of Canada had we not lived through the difficult changes, we need look no further than Washington, D.C., where unreformed entitlements and undisciplined borrowing are hobbling America’s power to be a world leader.”

When Jean Chretien became prime minister in 1993, Canada faced a fiscal and economic breakdown. The government’s share of the economy had climbed to 53% in 1992, from 28% in 1960. Deficits had tripled as a percentage of gross domestic product over the prior two decades. Government debt was nearly 70% of GDP and growing rapidly. Interest payments on the debt took up 35 cents of every tax dollar.

Mr. Chretien and his finance minister, Paul Martin, took decisive action. “Canadians have told us that they want the deficit brought down by reducing government spending, not by raising taxes, and we agree,” Mr. Martin said. The new administration slashed spending. Unemployment benefits were cut by nearly 40%. The ratio of spending cuts to tax increases was nearly 7-to-1. Federal employment was reduced by 14%. Canada’s national railway and air-traffic-control system were privatized.

The economy rebounded. Between 1995 and 1998, a $36.6 billion deficit turned into a $3 billion surplus. Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio was cut in half in a decade. Canada now has faster economic growth than America (3.3% in 2010, compared to 2.9% in the U.S.), a lower jobless rate (7.2% in June, when the U.S. rate was 9.2%), a deficit-to-GDP ratio that’s a quarter of ours, and a stronger dollar. (more…)



Saturday, July 9th, 2011
The Wall Street Journal

  • JULY 7, 2011

Jobs in the Pipeline

The EPA tries to scuttle oil transport from Canada’s tar sands.

  • With 9.1% unemployment and gasoline prices in the stratosphere, President Obama must sometimes wish that some big corporation would suddenly show up and offer a shovel-ready, multibillion-dollar project to create 100,000 jobs and reduce U.S. reliance on oil from dictatorships.

Oh, wait. His Secretary of State has had that offer sitting on her desk since she was sworn in. The trouble is that the Administration can’t approve it without upsetting its anti-fossil fuel constituency. And so the proposal sits.

In September 2008 TransCanada applied to build a new pipeline—the Keystone XL—to bring diluted bitumen from the oil-rich tar sands of Alberta to thirsty American refineries on the Gulf Coast. It is hardly a radical proposal. Canadian crude has been flowing to the U.S. for decades. Another Canadian company—Enbridge—operates the Clipper pipeline across the Canadian border to Chicago. In July 2010 TransCanada began operating its Keystone pipeline from Alberta to Cushing, Oklahoma, which is a major storage and pricing depot.

The Keystone XL would cut a slightly different path, through the American heartland to Port Arthur, Texas. Judging from its past experience and that of Enbridge, TransCanada expected that permitting would take roughly 23 months. Thirty-three months, two State Department studies and 208,000 public comments later, TransCanada is still waiting. On current trend, the company will be lucky to get its permit by January, or after 40 months. But even that is far from certain. (more…)

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