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I recently wrote about Canada's tar sands. Here's the beginning of my column:
When President Barack Obama vowed this week to reverse U.S. dependence on “foreign oil,” did he also mean Canada’s? It’s a question Americans might want to consider.
They could start by noting an important fact: Canada is the single-largest exporter of oil to the United States. Indeed, the U.S. imports more oil from Canada than from Saudi Arabia. Nearly one-fifth of all U.S. oil imports come from north of the 49th parallel. At current trends, a third of U.S. oil imports will soon come from Canada.
Canadians are accustomed to America’s willful ignorance of its northern neighbor. They don’t care that only 21 percent of Americans know the capital of Canada (hint: it’s not Toronto). But when polls indicate that just 4 percent of U.S. residents know we’re the biggest supplier of their fossil fuel addiction, even politicians lose their diplomatic cool.
The day of Obama’s inauguration, Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff, who leads the main opposition to Canada’s Conservative Party government, had this to say: “The Americans have to wake up and realize we ship more petroleum to the United States than Saudi Arabia. So when we talk, when Canadians talk, Americans have to listen.”