Popularity Contest: Canada vs CubaCanada may be the next-door neighbour sharing a contiguous border, largely undefended since there is no need for the United States to fear its friendly North American cousin, but it has been playing second fiddle to a country whose ideology is anathema to the U.S. government and which America has had no diplomatic relations with for decades. Still, that hasn't stopped the Obama administration from giving high priority in re-establishing relations with Cuba, while trampling on the historical close relations with Canada.
Canada is the closest trading partner along with Mexico, of the United States. The economies of all three countries are intertwined, and the Canada-U.S. relationship is complex and closely aligned to the economic resourcefulness and well-being and stability of both countries. The United States imports more gas and oil from Canada than from any other single source. The two countries celebrate shared values and a fairly common heritage.
But it seems that President Barack Obama has identified closer relations with Cuba as a potential legacy project, even while he cavalierly spurns the demonstrated need to repair his wilting relationship with Canada. Under his administration, the relations between the two countries have been steadily declining. Canada currently has a Conservative government, while that of the United States is a Democratic administration; but Canada's conservatism is more liberal generally than that of American democratic politics.
Where the disagreement comes in largely is President Obama's investment in another legacy project; the environment. In a country hugely dependent on the use of coal-fired energy which is the dirtiest of all environmental pollutants, and which has invested hugely in extracting oil and gas by fracking methods potentially imperilling groundwater resources at a time when parts of the country are undergoing serious drought threatening those underground water resources, the United States wagging an admonitory finger at Canada for environmental pollution through the Alberta oilsands smacks of ardent hypocrisy.
TransCanada, which is behind the proposed oil pipeline to send both Canadian and American oil to Texas refineries has implored the administration to reconsider its unstated but obvious refusal to give that go-ahead to the XL project. Even though 40,000 jobs would be guaranteed in the U.S. through the implementation of Keystone XL which would also replace oil from Venezuela and the Middle East as questionable providers.
Ottawa has made a commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, the new Alberta government has doubled the carbon levy, and corporate innovation has gone to great lengths to ensure that pollution levels will be at a minimum. The U.S. State Department's Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement concludes the pipeline would not "significantly exacerbate" emissions.
Canada produces a mere 1.6 percent of global man-made emissions, with oil sands production producing one-thousandth of the total. Contrast that to the effect of American emissions impacting the global environment. Alas, to no avail, no one in the Obama administration is listening because President Obama has closed his listening devices, going hell-bent for legacy.