Canada’s energy security in jeopardy

Time for the Harper government to bring in a made-in-Canada energy strategy—report
March 7, 2006

OTTAWA—A report on the Athabasca tar sands released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Parkland Institute, and Polaris Institute warns of the potential enormous economic, social, and ecological threat from Athabaska tar sands development.

“The Athabasca tar sands project is the centerpiece of a continental energy plan to send massive new oil and gas supplies to the U.S.,” says Tony Clarke, Director of the Polaris Institute. “Canada is sitting back and letting George W. Bush and the big oil companies dictate our energy policy.”

Fuelling Fortress America: A Report on the Athabasca Tar Sands and U.S. Demands for Canada’s Energy highlights the need for a coherent national (and Alberta) energy strategy. Neither government is doing the analysis or public consultation necessary to develop policies to meet the world energy crisis—let alone ensure a secure supply of energy for Canadians.

Since the signing of NAFTA in 1992, gas exports to the US have sky rocketed from 41% to 56% of our total Canadian production, and oil from 44% to 63% of production. What’s more, as US exports continue to balloon, NAFTA prevents us from reducing this share to meet Canadian priorities.

“We have less than a 10-year proven supply of both conventional oil as well as natural gas remaining, yet most of the tar sands oil is earmarked for export to the U.S., and most of the natural gas from the Arctic—by way of the yet-to-be-built Mackenzie Valley pipeline—is also intended for the U.S. market or to fuel extraction of the tar sands crude,” says CCPA Executive Director Bruce Campbell.

The rapidly increasing exports of Canada’s oil and gas to the U.S. puts our own energy security as a nation in jeopardy. Despite having the second largest proven petroleum reserves in the world, Canada is already forced to import nearly 50% of the oil its people need. Quebec and the Maritimes have to import 90% of their oil needs.

“Canada’s energy is a national concern and all Canadians should have a say into what role Alberta’s tar sands will play in ensuring the country’s long-term energy security,” says Parkland Institute Director Gordon Laxer. “The continuation of current energy policies is clearly not in the national interest.”

The report concludes with several proposals for a made-in-Canada energy strategy.


Fuelling Fortress America: A Report on the Athabasca Tar Sands and U.S. Demands for Canada’s Energy is available on the CCPA web site:

For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.