by Andrew Caddell
The Hill Times
June 6, 2018
OTTAWA—I remember well the afternoon in 2010 at what used to be called the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade when our policy team was invited to listen to one of the so-called “geniuses” in the Asia division.
He detailed a plan to export unprocessed bitumen to China and Japan for refining. The rationale was familiar: open up alternatives to the American market, eliminate the discount on Canadian oil, and place the financial burden of refining elsewhere.
I pointed out this was simply a modern version of the “hinterland economy” that made Canadians “hewers of wood and drawers of water” for centuries, as described in the works of Canadian economist Harold Innis.