MacKay’s claim that we are bringing in oil and gas from countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Algeria is half right. Most of our imports come from the U.S. – over 60 per cent for crude; 98 per cent for gas. For the remainder, we brought in light crude from nine other countries, including Saudi Arabia and Algeria, but that amount is falling – down 12 per cent last year – and none of it came from Iran or Venezuela.
The reasons we import oil are clear – Quebec and Atlantic Canada has most of the refining capacity and many of those refineries do not have access to western Canadian crude.
The bread shop analogy might appeal at a nativist level but does it mean a MacKay led Canada would stop energy imports from the United States, a move a protectionist White House might see as provocative?
Now he’s a few days into his campaign, the leadership race front-runner might want to refine his energy policy. He should let the markets solve the question of foreign oil and focus on the supply bottlenecks that stop them from operating efficiently.