Over a Barrel: Exiting from NAFTA’s Proportionality Clause
July 4, 2008
A new study Over a Barrel: Exiting from NAFTA’s Proportionality Clause co-authored by Gordon Laxer, professor of political economy at the University of Alberta and Common Frontiers member John Dillon, economic justice researcher at KAIROS, examines how the North American Free Trade Agreement prevents Canadians from exercising sovereignty over our own energy supplies.
Over a Barrel shows how, far from being an “energy superpower” as Prime Minister Harper claims, Canada is actually an energy colony, serving the USA’s voracious appetite for non-renewable hydrocarbons ahead of our own needs.
The study examines three scenarios in which the U.S. could invoke NAFTA to limit Canadian sovereignty. It could prevent us from a) conserving non-renewable hydrocarbons for future generations; b) setting aside natural gas for higher-value added petrochemical industries; or c) meeting eastern Canadians needs in the event of a global supply emergency.
Canadians have only 9 years of proven natural gas supplies and 13 years worth of conventional oil left and are already dependent on imports for almost half the petroleum we consume.
As the Presidential campaign of Barack Obama opens up a new re-examination of NAFTA, Canadians must seize the opportunity to reassert control over our own oil and gas resources by demanding the same exemption from the proportional sharing clause as was achieved by Mexico when NAFTA was negotiated.