As our Prime Minister travelled to South America for a trade conference in late May, he brought a significant bargaining chip with him to the negotiating table. Our natural gas reserves are of particular interest to the new Pacific Alliance formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Our Pacific coast will soon be ready to export this much needed and abundant resource to them.
Along with Canada, these countries (though with their share of economic challenges) remained largely unscathed by the global economic downturn of 2008. Chile’s economy, for example, is growing dramatically by almost six per cent a year (as compared to our two per cent). In fact, Canada happens to represent thethird-largest foreign investor in Chilean business, and trade between our countries has quadrupled since our free trade agreement with them began in 1997.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera is looking to Canada’s liquid natural gas to bolster his development agenda – to make Chile the first truly developed South American country. “We will need to import a lot of energy” And even if they manage to develop renewable solar, wave, and geothermal energy sources “we will still need natural gas,” Mr. Pinera added.
As our country ponders its future and its own significant energy needs (supplying one-third of Ontario’s energy use alone) it’s comforting to know we have a wealth of clean, affordable and reliable energy. From shaping our own domestic energy policies, to benefiting our economy, to shaping the future of our foreign relations and trade, natural gas is the fulcrum of many important discussions. And all of them have the opportunity to benefit Canadians from coast to coast.
What are your views on how natural gas is contributing to Canada’s economic potential? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.