Last month we discussed the rather alarming news that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was planning a trip to China to discuss possible natural resources deals with the economic superpower. It seemed no coincidence that the trip was announced close on the heels of Barack Obama’s decision to kick the can down the road on the Keystone XL pipeline yet again. But at that time, I retained some hope that perhaps this was just a warning siren to Obama which would remind him that Canada had plenty of other options should we decide not to do business with them.
Apparently Harper hasn’t cared much for what he’s been hearing out of Washington and found a very willing ear across the Pacific because it seems that some deals have been struck already.
China and Canada declared Thursday that bilateral relations have reached “a new level” following a series of multibillion-dollar trade and business agreements to ship additional Canadian petroleum, uranium and other products to the Asian superpower.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Chinese leadership said Thursday the economic co-operation agreements — and billions of dollars in new private-sector deals — signed by the two countries over the past few days are unprecedented and will open the door to additional trade and investment.
Harper announced Thursday, following meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, that the countries have struck an agreement that will allow Canadian uranium companies to “substantially increase exports to China.”
“We expect to see similar success stories in Canadian energy exports to China, once infrastructure is in place.”
Harper has said building pipelines to the West Coast — such as the proposed Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline and a separate one for liquefied natural gas — is a national priority as Canada looks to ship its vast resources to Asia.
This just gets better and better, doesn’t it? Not only do we have to keep an eye on the Canadians building a shorter pipeline to their western coast to ship all of their oil overseas, but now they’re going to aggressively up the ante on delivering uranium to the Chinese. Oh, I know… you probably think I’m being an old worry wort, right? I mean, China would only use the fuel for peaceful, energy production purposes and would never “lose track” of any of it, right?
Yet again we see that elections matter, and decisions coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. can have both immediate and long term effects not only here at home, but across the oceans as well. Harper’s deals wont be finalized until the Canadian legislature approves them, but they would be foolish indeed to turn it down with no assurances of a market in the U.S. There was never any doubt that Canada would pursue their own best economic and national interests and find a buyer for their resources. It was only a question of who would strike the right deal. And – again – I do not place any blame on Harper for this. He has to look out for Canada’s interests first, not ours. The fault here lies with the White House for playing politics with such a critical issue.