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Oil from a U.S. friend— Canada

Canada is only too happy to share its vast reserves of oil with its friend and neighbor, the United States.

Senators, including South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, want to take Canada up on the offer via a proposed pipeline from Northern Alberta to the Gulf Coast.

The question facing Americans is "why not buy oil and gas from a friend?' suggested Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a recent visit with President Barack Obama at the White House.

It would be the "most secure, most stable and friendliest location they can possibly get that energy," Harper said as opposed to "other places that are not secure, stable or friendly to the values of the United States."

Concerns by environmentalists and others over building the Keystone XL pipeline prompted Graham to speak up.

"I've been told that the second largest-known deposit of oil is the oil sands in Canada and that it is equal to, or greater than, Saudi Arabia and Iran," he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that she is "generally supportive of receiving more oil from Canada" along with "doing more in energy efficiency and renewables."

Another pipeline supporter is North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven who said it would also carry crude from his state to refineries in Texas.

Rising oil prices bring a gas tax windfall

Record-high oil prices are helping Canada reap a financial windfall.

With national gasoline prices topping $1.20 a liter ($4.50 a U.S. gallon), the government could be "pulling in hundreds of millions of extra dollars compared to last year," the QMI news agency said.

Its analysis found with prices now about 17 cents a liter (65 cents a gallon) higher than a year ago and with 41 billion liters consumed annually that means an extra $350 million a year in taxes.

Liberal Member of Parliament Dan McTeague said it is wrong for the Conservative government to continue charging the federal tax on top of other taxes on gasoline and drivers need a break.

News in brief

• The New Democratic Party suggests the minority Conservative government of Prime Minister Harper is planning a spring federal election. The proof, suggests Member of Parliament Linda Duncan, is a letter from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney asking for money for the party's campaign. The New Democrats want Kenney to resign for improperly using his official letterhead to seek donations.

• Statistics Canada is weighing in on the number of obese Canadians. In collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it found one Canadian in four is "clinically obese," compared with one in three in the U.S. In both countries, the largest girths were among men 60 to 74 and women from 20 to 39.

Facts and figures

Higher oil prices helped push the Canadian dollar up to $1.0308 U.S. on Friday while the U.S. greenback was lower at 97.02 cents Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada has left its key interest rate at 1 percent while the prime lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,248 points and the TSX Venture Exchange 2,439 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 27, 28, 31, 41, 42 and 43; bonus 46. (Feb. 26) 3, 16, 17, 31, 33 and 46; bonus 37. Lotto Max: (Feb. 25) 3, 14, 19, 30, 32, 39 and 46; bonus 8.

Regional briefs

• British Columbia Liberals have named Christy Clark their new leader and the next premier, succeeding Gordon Campbell. The radio talk show host and former deputy premier won the leadership on the third ballot over former cabinet ministers Kevin Falcon, George Abbott and Mike de Jong. Campbell has resigned but hasn't said when he will leave and transfer power to the next leader.

• There will be no additional full-scale public inquiry into police actions during last June's G20 summit of world leaders in Toronto, Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty said. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association wants the probe into alleged brutality and the detaining of more than 1,100 people.

• Randy Bachman, Canadian rock music icon, had fun, fun, fun but now Canada's Science and Technology Museum is taking his T-Bird away. Bachman, who founded the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, is donating his 1965 Thunderbird formerly owned by fellow rocker Burton Cummings. Found in the trunk of the car was a lost demo tape from a 1987 recording session that became a CD called the Thunderbird Trax.

Jim Fox can be reached at

Oil from a U.S. friend— Canada 03/05/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 5, 2011 7:35pm]
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