EDITORIAL: On energy issues, U.S. isn’t our friend – Toronto Sun

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Petroleum pump jacks are pictured in the Kern River oil field in Bakersfield, California November 9, 2014.
Petroleum pump jacks are pictured in the Kern River oil field in Bakersfield, California November 9, 2014. Photo by Jonathan Alcorn /REUTERS

The growing list of energy-related disputes between Canada and the U.S., despite the much-vaunted friendship between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, demonstrates one of the oldest maxims in politics.

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That is that nations don’t have friends, they have interests.

It’s certainly not that Canada and the U.S. are enemies — our historic political and economic ties make us allies in the true sense of the word.

But the reality is that while relations between Canada and the U.S. are somewhat less volatile today than when Donald Trump was America’s Republican president, tensions haven’t disappeared and in some areas are escalating.

Last week in Maine — which voted for Biden in last year’s presidential election — voters rejected a plan by Hydro Quebec to build a 233-km transmission line across their state to deliver electricity to New England, throwing the $1 billion project into doubt.

While supporters argued the plan would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 59% of Maine residents who voted in a referendum rejected the transmission line on environmental and economic grounds.

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Biden recently unveiled a “buy American” policy favouring electric vehicles made in the U.S. over ones assembled in Canada through enhanced tax credits for American car buyers, raising political concerns in Canada that the move will damage our auto sector.

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The Trudeau government last month invoked a 1977 treaty with the U.S. aimed at getting the Biden administration to scuttle an ongoing campaign by Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to shut down the Line 5 pipeline over her environmental concerns.

That would choke off 540,000 barrels of oil and natural gas liquids a day — cutting energy supplies to Ontario and Quebec, cost thousands of jobs in Ontario and damage the Alberta and Saskatchewan economies.

Talks between the two sides are scheduled to begin “shortly.”

On the first day of his presidency on Jan. 20, 2021 Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline intended to move bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

As president, Trump had resurrected Keystone — a pipeline which the Trudeau government supported — after former U.S. president Barack Obama, while Biden was his vice-president, killed the pipeline in 2015, because of what Obama said were environmental concerns. 

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