On the third day of his trip to China, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made clear on Friday that Canada will sell its oil and gas to whomever wants to buy it—and China certainly has the appetite, judging from the billions of dollars in acquisitions and investments its government-owned companies have recently put in the Alberta oil sands. Harper also used the occasion to criticize “foreign money and influence that seek to obstruct development in Canada.” Alberta Conservative MP Brian Jean is notably preparing a bill that would ban funding of what he and Energy Minister Joe Oliver call “radical groups,” referring to the environmental groups who oppose Enbridge’s construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline.
Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel is in China with the PM. He said Friday the Chinese are frustrated with the length of time it takes to approve the $5.5-billion, 1,177-kilometre pipeline that would take oil from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia. From there, it could be easily shipped to China and other Asian markets. Most of Canada’s energy resources currently go to the U.S., which recently rejected the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would have taken crude oil from Alberta to Texas. Despite the opposition to the pipeline, Daniel is optimistic it can be built within the next three years and start operating by 2017.