Potter: Canada should "make it a national priority to ensure we have the capacity to export our energy products beyond the US, and specifically to Asia." Agree?

By: /
February 6, 2012

My quick response would be first to agree with the proposition that "Canada should make it a national priority to ensure we have the capacity to export our energy products beyond the US, and specifically to Asia." Secondly I would strongly encourage an open national discussion on the development of refining capacity in Canada. To the extent that Canada relies on raw materials exports (in this case bitumen) and importing finished products such as gasoline and jet fuel, we are condemning ourselves to a permanent place in the global periphery. Although the short-term business case for contenting ourselves with raw materials exports may be persuasive, this is very short-term thinking. Canada needs to have a national conversation on developing value-added exports. Moving our production capacity up the value chain will be essential to Canada's long-term sustainable economic and social development. China is following this path, as are many other developing economies. Canada should start investing in refining capacity and otherwise building value-add for our energy exports.