Well… a little while ago I mentioned that Chavez has been making offers to export his countries oil to everyone but the US. Asia, Europe, South America, and his neighbours in Central America and the Caribeaan.
Today, he took one more step towards creating a “Petrocaribe”.
The talks are being attended by representatives of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Surinam, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Mr Chavez announced the Petrocaribe plan in June at a regional summit in Venezuela’s city of Puerto La Cruz.
He said the region had suffered centuries of imperialism and needed to strike out on its own.
Mr Chavez has pledged highly preferential oil prices, with Caracas picking up 40% of the cost if oil is selling at more than $50 a barrel, as it is now.
But he has insisted all this new business must be between governments, saying that the region could not hand any more natural resources over to Texaco and other private companies.
This leads in nicely to another story from the CBC….
Apparently leger has done a poll (just before Hurricane Katrina) asking Canadians whether Nationalized oil and gas companies are the way to go. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, nationalization has a lot of support in Canada. Especially the further East you go.
The Canadian Press said Monday a Leger poll suggested 49 per cent of respondents want petroleum resources nationalized while 43 per cent said they would like to see the same fate for gas companies.
Quebecers were the strongest supporters of resource nationalization at 67 per cent, followed by residents of the Atlantic provinces at 53 per cent, Ontarians at 45 per cent and British Columbians at 42 per cent.
As would be expected, Albertans, and other Prairie folk are the least cool with nationalization… and BC’ers are betwix-and-between, it’s that rural conservative base fighting with the urban elite and youth as usual.
Albertans have good reason to be skeptical of nationalization after what happened during the last oil crisis with the National Energy Program. Much bitterness still pervades Albertan society…
However, it may be time to consider nationalization once again. No, not because I am jealous of Albertans wealth and want a piece for me… but rather because Canada depends chiefly on its’ massive natural resources to survive. At the end of the day, decisions must be made that will benefit all of Canada and all Canadians. The incredible skyrocketing gas prices will be a drag on all sectors of the economy, from business, to industry, to the consumer, to government. We must develop a program that will do the following:
a) Allow Canadian consumers and business to thrive regardless of the increasing price of oil and refined products.
b) Make it clear to Canadians (especially those living in Oil-rich provinces including Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland & Labrador) that oil is a limited resource and it is in the best interest of all to develop alternatives now. Alberta is already one of the leaders of new wind energy developments in Canada but electricity generation is only a small portion of the effect of the Oil Economy. More must be invested in research and development of the next driver of the worlds economy after oil.
c) Funding transportation initiatives that will create a more efficient network to move Canadians around town and around the country. It is simply impossibly expensive for cities or even provinces to fund the projects needed to modernize the railways and expand public transport…. the federal government must be involved and there is no reason why ever increasing amount of money that we gain from increased oil revenues not be funneled into developing modern and fuel efficient transportation options for Canadians. This can be done through rebates to buy Ultra High Efficiency Vehicles or public transport or even funding the construction of dedicated all-weather (important in Canada) bike routes.
I’ve actually been thinking about this nationalization thing for awhile and it appeals to me on many levels. Perhaps it would be an extreme, but I am beginning to think that as the cost of transporting goods rises nationalization will be the only way to control those costs and continue to guarantee workers a reasonable wage. The recent (if not still ongoing.. I haven’t heard) truckers strike that shut down the Port of Vancouver (the 3rd largest port in North America) for a two weeks over the summer is a perfect example. As the price of gas has risen private truckers have had to take the hit because their companies refused to take the cost on themselves. Only the Federal, provincial and municipal governments have the long-term resources to absorb those costs.
How many billions, of dollars were lost to the Canadian economy due to the shutdown at the Port of Vancouver? If industrial transport was nationalized, would the increase in gas prices been as much of a hit on a national scale? It’s questions like these which need to be seriously, and objectively looked at.
I predict that if gas prices hit $2, as I predicted in the last threat (oh god, a prediction on a prediction… oh well) it will be a no-brainer that it’ll be a major Election Issue. We’ll see what the parties have prepared for their platforms.