By John Dillon, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
Twenty-five years ago when I first scrutinized the text of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) I warned that the proportionality clause in the energy chapter posed a grave danger to Canadian energy sovereignty. When invoked it would require Canada to make available to U. S. importers the same proportion of our total oil or gas supply as we sold them over the previous three years. That same clause was later incorporated into NAFTA. Mexico wisely negotiated an exemption.
In 2008 I decided to test my concern that the proportionality obligation could actually lead to energy shortages in Canada. In a study entitled Over a Barrel, co- published by the CCPA and the Parkland Institute, Gordon Laxer and I explored three scenarios concerning what would happen if the clause were invoked.