Canada at "pivotal moment" to sell natural resources to Asia: Joe Oliver

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver stressed the need for Canada to expand natural resource exports to Asia and other regions. 

“Canada is well-positioned to take advantage of enormous opportunity to supply burgeoning markets in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere,” Oliver said during his keynote speech in Yellowknife.

“This is a pivotal moment when we decide whether to take that opportunity or let it pass us by.”

Over the next decade, he said, hundreds of major resource projects worth some $650 billion could begin in Canada. 

“It is a strategic imperative to diversify our energy markets, since virtually all Canada's oil and gas exports go to the United States, whose recent discoveries mean it will need Canadian resources less in the future," he said.

"A pre-condition of diversification is the construction of infrastructure, to bring those resources to tidewater."

In his notes, which echoed some speeches made by oil experts at last year's Oil and Gas Export Summit in Vancouver, the Ministry emphasized that global energy demand is expected to increase by 35 percent from 2010 to 2035, and Canada is "well-positioned" to support that growing demand due to its political stability and environmental responsibility.

This year, however, there have been a number of reports that Canada's rush for oil has undermined the country's democracy, and that budget cuts to environment have significantly weakened Environment Canada's ability to enforce regulations. 

As for growing environmental concerns due to the rollback in environmental regulations last year, Oliver said that the government will require an increase of annual oil and gas inspections by 50 per cent, creating a 
Tanker Safety Expert Panel and appointing a Special Federal Representative who will report to the Prime Minister on key issues regarding Aboriginal participation in the development of the West Coast’s energy infrastructure.

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