Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Canadians cutting back

I heard an interesting thing about NAFTA a few months ago that I don't know the details of or fully understand how it would be enforced. It is this: Under NAFTA, Canada is required to continue to sell a certain fraction of our oil and natural gas to the US, and if we reduce our consumption, we are still required to make available a fixed amount of the resources for export to the US. That was my simplistic understanding of the law. (I wish I could find a link)

So even if 50% of Canadians start riding bikes and install wood stoves in their homes (and use them), our resources would still be used up at about the same rate.

This is important because it sounds like our politicians are on the verge of being up front with Canadians. They are recommending that we tighten our belts. I hope some specific suggestions and programs start to come to the surface.

If we do make some big changes, whatever the motivation, then it seems like our government better also have a plan to do a little fancy accounting with our oil and gas, and basically use up our yearly fraction by putting it into storage so we have it for the future. If that sounds like too much work, they could start a program where every Canadian household is given an energy efficient light bulb, 20 jerry cans for gasoline and huge tank for natural gas. Then as resources get scarce, people could sell their cans of gasoline to the local grocery store, and we can continue to transport goods and heat our homes. This sounds a little wacky, and I’m being at least a little bit facetious. At some point though, Canada will be in a difficult position with so many natural resources and so much outside pressure to export.

Darren J 9/21/2005 11:08:00 PM

3 Comments:

You'll find it under Chapter 6, Article 605 of NAFTA:
http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/nafta-alena/chap06-en.asp

We may not "impose a higher price for exports of an energy or basic petrochemical good to [the US] than the price charged for such good when consumed domestically, by means of any measure such as licenses, fees, taxation and minimum price requirements"

It's time to buy a sweater, Canada!
Thanks for the link, Andrew.

I thought this line was dead on:
(from the same section)
[Canada may] not reduce the proportion of the total export shipments of the specific energy or basic petrochemical good made available to [the US] relative to the total supply of that good of [Canada] as compared to the proportion prevailing in the most recent 36-month period...
Any chance I could challenge Mulroney to a rochambeau contest for getting us into this NAFTA mess? I get first kick.

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