So far, no pundit has commented on a simple word change uttered more than once on Tuesday evening by Mitt Romney, who talked not about “American” energy independence, but about “North American” energy independence. This was no meaningless slip of the tongue. North America includes Canada and Mexico, and if I were Canada, I’d sit up and pay attention. Canada has the second highest proven oil reserves in the world. It is the world’s third-largest producer of natural gas and second-largest wheat exporter. It has large coal resources and is known as “the Saudi Arabia of fresh water.” Its tar sands, which Romney wants to connect forthwith to the Keystone pipeline, produce some of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels. Canada has, in short, just about everything we need in terms of natural resources, and Mexico has long been a source of cheap labor . . . including in the Romneys' front yard.
I am not suggesting that Romney plans to invade Canada, as he will clearly have his hands full with Iran and China. But the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Romney supports, suggests the possibility that a signatory nation cannot restrict the extraction and exploitation of its natural resources of natural resources. This has become a huge issue with regard to water, as Canadian and U.S. political and corporate interests have developed wild schemes to divert Canada’s water flow from Hudson Bay to the Mississippi River.
Like junkies everywhere, we need a better way to address our addiction than getting our hands on more dirty needles.