Director’s Forum with The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

April 02, 2012 // 4:00pm5:00pm
Podcast (Audio-only): 
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The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

Regardless of the final Keystone XL decision, diversifying energy exports is a long-term strategic goal for Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a Wilson Center audience Monday. “Not to diversify to Asia when Asia is growing doesn’t make sense,” he said. A major pipeline connecting western Canada oil wells to ports and refineries in Texas, the Keystone XL project is undergoing a federal review and has not yet been fully approved by the administration. That it could fail review underscores Canada’s need to open new markets for oil and other energy products and relieve its historical overdependence on US export markets, Harper noted.

Apart from energy issues, Harper discussed the depth of the US-Canada trading relationship, which he called the “largest economic relationship in history” with more than US$750 billion in goods and services crossing the border annually. He stressed Canada’s absorption of massive US exports, noting that the northern neighbor imports more yearly than the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), Germany, and Great Britain—combined.

Harper was in Washington for the annual Trilateral Leaders Summit with President Barack Obama and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico. His talk was the latest in the Center’s Director’s Forum series and was moderated by Wilson Center Director Jane Harman.

Event Speakers List: 
  • Jane Harman // Director, President and CEO, Wilson Center
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Event Resources: 

CBC News article "Stephen Harper takes oilsands message to American audience" by Laura Payton on April 2, 2012, notes Prime Minister Stephen Harper's message that the two countries have different interests when it comes to energy. A video of the event is also posted along with the article.

"Canadian Prime Minister Talks with Wilson Center CEO", from C-SPAN on April 2, 2012 notes Prime Minster of Canada Stephen Harper spoke with Jane Harman, Director, President & CEO of the Wilson Center.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper argues that there is a big difference between Syria and Libya, notes Mark Kennedy in the article "The Syrian issue 'more complex' than Libyan, Harper tells U.S. think-tank" from The Calgary Herald published on April 2, 2012.

Harper said Obama's rejection of the controversial pipeline -- even temporarily -- stressed Canada's need to find other buyers for oilsands crude, notes Bryn Weese in the article, "Canadian oil going to Asia, no matter what: Harper", published in CNews on April 2, 2012

The article "Entry to Trans-Pacific trade group still eludes Canada" from CTV, published on April 2, 2012, notes Prime Minister Stephen Harper's disappointment with Obama on the decision to delay the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

The Edmonton Journal published an article by Mark Kennedy called "'Amigos' discuss trade, energy, drugs" on April 3, 2012 that highlighted Prime Minister Stephen Harper's willingness to diversify Canada's energy market.

Globe and Mail article by Konrad Yakabuski and Paul Koring "Canada no longer 'captive' to U.S. energy market, Harper says" published on April 2, 2012 notes that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has warned Americans that the threat of a no from the United States on the Keystone XL oil pipeline has irreversibly jolted Canada into reducing its reliance on its biggest - and in some cases only - export market.

The article "PM Harper at the Wilson Center: A discussion of bilateral and global issues" is featured on the Canadian Government website published on April 2, 2012.


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