Never. So why do we import oil from countries that do, when we have the world’s third largest proven oil reserves in our backyard?

CanadNow will be taking a real look at the energy industry in Canada, with this being the first of many articles. We’ll deliver information and opinions free from domestic idealism which fails to put Canada in a realistic global context. In this article we’ll discuss Canada’s social record against the Middle East’s. As a country which prides itself on social tolerance and diversity, we should apply those same principles to our energy industry. We do not live in a bubble.

The graph below illustrates where the world’s energy comes from. Canada, as an exporter, rates highest in low corruption, civil liberties, and political rights. For those who believe importing oil preserves our moral purity, “only one-quarter of the world’s oil is sourced from jurisdictions that share any of the values we uphold in Canada”. 

Take a look at the graph and let it sink in. (Mobile users may have to turn their phone sideways.)

Most of the countries are from regions which “crush protests with ruthless force and trample over the rights of hundreds of thousands”, and kill environmentalists. The irony of Canadian activists spouting off on one of the most ethical sources of oil in the world, while their compatriots in the Middle East are summarily murdered, should not be lost.


Saudi Arabia is second on the list of countries Canada imports oil from. Instead of building pipeline infrastructure to better supply the country and allow for greater exports, we would rather buy it from a nation that not only murders and persecutes critics, but still perpetuates draconian social controls. It wasn’t until last year that women were allowed to drive, and even then, the very women who fought for the ban to be lifted are still detained.

Despite global outpourings of moral outrage condemning Saudi Arabia and the Middle East’s abysmal social records, those countries are still the greatest exporters of oil. And you can’t be an exporter unless someone is buying your product.

It is long overdue for us to have a humane perspective, grounded in reality, with which to paint our energy sector attitudes. From a moral and ethical standpoint, Canada is without competition. And if building pipelines and promoting exports means less money and revenue for these unethical countries, why isn’t that something we should fight for? Why shouldn’t it be something our collective social consciousness keeps in the back our heads as we debate the oil sands? Canada cannot be ignorant of how our decisions directly impact people on the other side of the world.

If we maintain false illusions about our moral high-ground, and believe shutting down oil sands development is the righteous move, we hand money and global power to destructive governments with none of the freedoms we take for granted in Canada.

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