By Mike Gladstone, Director External Affairs Canada, Enbridge
As the world digs out from under the weight of COVID-19 and looks to address the dual challenge of climate change and economic recovery, Canada’s relationship with the U.S. has never been more important. As friends and allies who share the world’s longest undefended international border this relationship is defined to a large extent by a common interest in trade.
Energy, which flows both ways over the border, is a key component of our trade relationship. In 2019, total trade between our countries was approximately US$718.4 billion, including $138 billion in energy trade. We export more than we import. Energy accounts for about 25% of Canadian exports to the U.S., and just 8% of our total imports – with about 90% of the energy flowing between borders being crude oil and petroleum products.
What’s more important than where we’ve been is where we’re going. Recent events in Europe have underscored the role North American energy can play in supporting our allies around the world.
As global demand for low-carbon goods and services grows, Canada is well positioned to meet the need. Executing a Canadian low-carbon export strategy will take a serious effort, but the benefits could be immense.
And keeping in mind our interdependence with our American friends on climate and energy, it only makes sense that we jointly tackle climate change and transform our highly integrated energy systems
“Building back better” can involve renewable and electricity projects, emerging energy solutions like carbon capture, utilization and storage, hydrogen and renewable natural gas. But it should not overlook modernization of existing assets such as Line 3 and Line 5, projects that use the latest technology, improve safety, protect the environment, create jobs, and benefit communities.
Canada’s commercial relationship with the U.S. is strong and aligned to deliver business— and citizen-friendly outcomes. It also can be transformational. But to maintain Canada’s standing as a trading nation, and as a North American bloc with our neighbours to the south, we need to be policy shapers, not policy takers.
In our increasingly connected global economy, the world has a choice on where it gets its energy. We contend that North American energy is good for the world, good for Canada, good for Canadian workers, and good for the planet.