Earlier last week, Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland in retribution for sanctions related to the ongoing war with Ukraine. The step signifies an intensification in the economic war of sanctions and retaliatory measures that has moved in tandem with the ground war, leading Europe into greater energy uncertainty. Actually, dependence on Russian energy has left many European countries, like Germany, in a tenuous position; Germany’s economic and energy minister predicts mass unemployment and poverty if the country were to prematurely stop using Russian oil and gas.
Canada, as a strong and stable energy producer, should be in a position to help, right? Unfortunately, due to a lack of infrastructure, Canada exports natural gas to a single customer: the United States. However, a majority of Canadians are in favour of diversifying and exporting our resources to countries in Europe. In fact, according to an IPSOS poll commissioned by the Montreal Economic Institute on Canada’s energy strategy, released last week, 68% of Canadians want us to build the necessary energy infrastructure, including pipelines, in order to export our resources to Europe. And in Quebec, 59% of the population is in favour of developing the province’s oil and gas potential.
The current energy crisis in Europe should be a wake-up call for Canada: we need to increase our capacity for production and export, and we need to diversify our export destinations. Displacing Russian energy is only one benefit; energy security for Canada is another.