When terrorists struck America 14 years ago, Canada had our back. At a moment’s notice, Prime Minister Jean Chretien fortified our shared border and safely ushered hundreds of planes into Canadian airports.
Today, though, the United States is turning its back on Canada.
The Obama administration recently rejected TransCanada’s permit for Keystone XL — a proposed pipeline linking Alberta’s oil sands to the Gulf Coast. Yet the administration is now lifting restrictions on Iran’s oil exports as part of the Iran nuclear deal.
So the Obama administration has blocked Canadian oil exports while welcoming such exports from Iran. Such double-dealing weakens our relationship with Canada and threatens U.S. national security.
Canada and the United States have enjoyed a strong security partnership since World War II. They’re currently engaged in many security efforts around the globe, including efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. They have also jointly monitored North American airspace for the past 50 years through the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
The two countries also have a mutually beneficial energy relationship. Canada supplies 97 percent of the United States’ natural-gas imports, which accounts for 11 percent of domestic consumption. And Canada buys $23 billion worth of energy products from America.
The rejection of TransCanada’s permit for Keystone XL jeopardizes this alliance, especially considering that newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls the pipeline “one of the most important projects of our generation.”
TransCanada has also considered challenging a potential Keystone veto under the North American Free Trade Agreement, “which calls for unfettered U.S. access to Canada’s energy supply in exchange for Canadian access to the U.S market.”
What’s more, Keystone XL would have paved the way for North American energy independence. The pipeline had the potential to funnel 830,000 barrels of oil to U.S. producers daily. That’s more than 90 percent of the Venezuelan oil America purchased in 2012.
Further, building Keystone XL would have allowed North America to satisfy America’s demand for liquid fuels by 2028.
Instead, President Obama has chosen to limit the use of North American energy resources, while unleashing Iran’s.
That’s ill-advised. Iran has 50 million barrels of oil. These reserves could drown a market whose oil prices have already reached six-year lows, especially given China’s recent weak demand. And Iran is ready to hit the market the second sanctions are lifted.
Iran’s track record of terror makes it a shaky negotiating partner. The nation has played a large role in arming Sudan and Syria, and has fueled Hamas’ desire to, as U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart put it, wipe “Israel off the face of the Earth.” The regime in Tehran has taken the lives of hundreds of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
Negotiating with a state whose allies include Russia, China, and North Korea, while rejecting Canadian oil, is ludicrous.
We should have turned to Canada. As John F. Kennedy once said of our neighbor, “Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies.”
The United States should have Canada’s back. Instead, the president has chosen to threaten years of binational defense agreements and the future of U.S. energy security.
Paul Chevalier is a retired sergeant major of the Marine Corps and the chair at the New Hampshire Vets4Energy.