Attempts to restrict U.S. imports of Canadian oil ignore the reality of U.S. dependence on foreign oil and could force America to buy oil from repressive governments that restrict civil, political, and economic freedoms, concludes a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.
The new study measures how 38 major oil-producing jurisdictions, defined as those that produce more than 250,000 barrels of oil daily, perform on 17 comparisons of civil, political, and economic freedoms. The comparison also includes eight measurements specific to women’s freedoms.
“In recent years, Canada’s oil exports have been assailed by groups trying to persuade American consumers and policy-makers that a reduction in Canadian oil imports would not have negative consequences for the United States,” said Mark Milke, Fraser Institute director of Alberta policy and author of In America’s National Interest—Canadian Oil.
“On the contrary, in the absence of Canadian oil, Americans would likely face increased costs for oil and possible supply limitations. Americans should also not overlook the critical issue of civil, political, and economic freedoms. Unlike Canada, most other sources of oil imports are from governments that any reasonable person would find objectionable.”
The study found that, with the exception of Norway, Canada is the only major oil-exporting country that scores highly on all measurements of civil, political, and economic freedom. That includes: the rights of women to full career, medical, and travel choices; the property rights of all citizens; media freedom; religious freedom; economic freedoms such as property rights; and other measurements such as judicial independence and relative freedom from corruption.
“Restricting trade with an ally that has similar values in terms of equality, civil rights, and individual freedoms is simply not in America’s best interest,” Milke said.
Some facts from the study:
“Oil will remain a chief component of the global energy mix for the next several decades, so the United States has two options: either continue to embrace oil imports from Canada—a safe, secure and stable ally with an excellent record on human rights—or resort to importing oil from governments that regularly violate human rights as a matter of policy, and in some cases, are state sponsors of terrorism,” Milke said.
“Critics of imported Canadian oil must confront the fact that, in the absence of such imports, America will need to seek other suppliers of oil, and those supplies will likely come from jurisdictions that many American consumers and policy-makers find objectionable for common-sense reasons.”