Canada bas been an early participant in the petroleum industry but significant entry into the world oil scene occurred with the Leduc discovery of 1947. Development of the industry since Leduc has resulted in net self sufficiency. To-day there are forces which would wish to push Canada into the role of a net world scale exporter of both oil and gas, primarily to satisfy U.S. needs. This could cause severe economic dislocation for Canada and possibly its disappearance as a separate political entity. The chief agents behind this push are the seven largest oil corporations in the world, Exxon, Shell, Mobil, Texaco, Gulf, B.P. and California Standard, whose incomes individually exceed those of most of the governments in the world. In recent months, particularly after the October 1974 Arab-Israeli conflict, government intervention into the industry on an unprecedented scale took place. This has been resented by the industry. Although governments of all parties have made some mistakes in this intervention, continued overnment involvement in the development of the industry is necessary to protect the Canadian public interest. A new Canadian oil and gas policy must be developed which will not coincide with the wishes of the predominantly foreign owned private corporations. There is a place for private corporations in an accelerated development of conventional sources of oil and gas in western Canada and the east coast. It would not be in the Canadian public interest to permit construction of the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline at this time. Private interests in the far north should be taken over by the newly legislated National Petroleum Corporation. All developments in the Alberta oil sands should also be taken over by the National Petroleum Corporation, preferably in partnership with an Alberta crown corporation. Provincial crown corporations could be useful flexible tools in stimulating development in the conventional sector. Such a policy would not be welcomed by the industry but that is what Canada needs.
The petroleum industry is the largest wealthiest and most powerful industry in the World. Petroleum is the most important energy source to-day and will continue to be for some time to come. It has been a major factor in politics for a hundred years and has never been more prominent than to-day. Canada has been an early but a minor participant on the world petroleum scene up to now, but this could change drastically in the near future. Pressure is building up to expand the Canadian industry as quickly as possible in order to solve the energy crisis in the U.S. Growth of the industry to fulfill Canadian needs is desirable but explosive growth would cause severe economic dislocation and might even endanger Canada's continued existence s a separate political entity. The chief advocates of' excessive growth within Canada. are the seven largest oil corporations which dominate the world petroleum industry and which individually have greater economic strength than most of the nations of the world. The politics of petroleum will be the dominant politics of the forseeable future for Canada and for the world.