Dan Albas

Dan Albas

COLUMN: Federal government explores actions to assist Ukraine

Canada could become major supplier of oil to Europe

The atrocities of the Putin regime, as it continues to take the lives of innocent Ukrainians, remains a serious international concern for democratic nations.

Our federal government continues to explore and identify new actions to assist Ukraine, as well as targeting new measures to sanction Russia. The government and all opposition parties remain in support of these ongoing efforts.

At the same time, we also recognize that there is only so much impact one country — even one the size of Canada — can have. Canada’s sanctions against Russia are further complicated by the fact that we have overall, very limited dealings with Russia.

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This raises the question as to what can Canada do both in the short term and the long term to restore peace, stability, and respect for democratic sovereignty to Ukraine?

In the short term, aside from efforts already underway, Canada could also join with other European countries and allow Ukrainians to travel to Canada without requiring a visa.

This measure is supported by the official opposition however the government thus far has not agreed to implement this policy.

In the longer term Canada should no longer ignore that Russia supplies 40 per cent of Europe’s natural gas as well as a significant amount of oil. This dependence on Russian oil and gas has limited Europe from taking more proactive stances against previous instances of Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine.

Further, by purchasing Russian oil and gas, the proceeds from the sale of these natural resources are used by Putin to finance the Russian military campaign currently committing war crimes again Ukrainians.

This should not be tolerable.

If Canada was able to get our natural gas and oil to the Atlantic via pipeline, we would become a valuable alternative energy supplier for Europe to displace Russian oil and gas.

Likewise, if the Keystone XL pipeline was built the capacity of this pipeline would more than offset the current levels of Russian oil imported into the Unties States annually.

This would result in USA importing more energy from its trusted ally and closest trading partner here in Canada instead of looking to countries such as Iran or Venezuela for increased energy supply.

The major obstacle to doing this is of course politics. Killing pipelines here in North America has become a hallmark of progressive politicians both here in Canada and in the United States.

These policies have been to the benefit of Russia, and potentially now Venezuela and Iran. None of these countries have an environmental record or regulatory regime anywhere near approaching what exists here in Canada.

We must also not overlook that even within North American when pipelines are not built, we instead see a greater reliance of foreign oil and gas importations as well as greater use of oil by rail with our domestic oil and gas.

My question this week: Do you believe Canada should play a great role in exporting our oil and gas to displace the European reliance on Russian oil and gas?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola and the Shadow Minister for the Environment and Climate Change.

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ColumnistFederal PoliticsRussiaUkraine